Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Watermen to Restore Chesapeake Bay Oyster Bars

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and The Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) are continuing to work with commercial fishermen on oyster bar rehabilitation projects. The program is a part a Maryland plan to help mitigate the economic impact of regulations enacted in 2008 to help rebuild the blue crab fishery, while also helping to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

The program utilizes the skills, experience and equipment of Chesapeake Bay watermen to increase the amount of viable oyster bar habitat in the estuary. The rehabilitated oyster bars will create habitat for a natural spat set and/or hatchery seed plantings in both sanctuaries and public shellfish fishery areas. The program also provides watermen with income for helping with oyster restoration.

This spring, more than 750 Maryland watermen will restore 23 oyster bars in the Chesapeake Bay and will reclaim more than 1,000 acres of buried oyster shell.

A number of the oyster bars slated for rehabilitation are located within new sanctuary areas that were created by the Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan. These areas include Harris Creek, Eastern Bay, and the Little Choptank, Nanticoke and Manokin Rivers.

source: MD DNR

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