"Maryland Hails ‘Remarkable’ Year For Young Oysters In The Chesapeake Bay"

"There’s still a long way to go, but oyster recovery efforts in Maryland’s portion of Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries continue to show promising results, state officials for the agency charged with monitoring the mollusk ecosystem said.

The annual Fall Oyster Survey showed a “remarkable number” of juvenile oysters and found them widely distributed through many regions of the Chesapeake, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday. It found 86.8 spat, or juvenile oysters, per bushel, which is nearly four times the 39-year median. That marks the fourth consecutive year the survey showed results exceeding the median number.

“We have not recorded this extent of oyster spat recruitment in the fall survey in a generation,” Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz said in a statement. “Both the quantity and the wide distribution of spat throughout the Bay, including several areas where our biologists have rarely observed spat in nearly 40 years of results, are outstanding.”

A number of factors are driving growth, the agency said, including higher-than-average salinity levels last year because of below-average rainfall in the watershed, making conditions better for oyster survival and spread. The agency also credited ongoing management efforts aimed at boosting the oyster population."

Joe Heim reports for the Washington Post January 12, 2024.

Source: Washington Post, 01/16/2024