Crab Population Up, Oysters Remain Scarce in Chesapeake Bay

By Megan Pratz

Photo courtesy of UMCES

The blue crab population in the the Chesapeake Bay is up 60%, but the oyster population remains drastically low, despite concentrated efforts to restore it.

Overall, Maryland state and federal government funds totaling $40 million have gone to protect and grow the oyster population.

The state’s plan? More regulations to protect more areas of the bay to save more oysters. And the watermen are not happy about it.

Jackie Bowen, a Calvert County waterman, opposes oyster sanctuaries. He said in a public forum earlier this year, “We try to make a living out there. We don’t want to be out of business.”

Despite concerns like Bowen’s, the Department of Natural Resources hopes to submit a proposal for new sanctuaries soon.

And even though these sanctuaries would protect oyster beds, DNR knows this is serious business for watermen.

“We want to be sure we get it right, as right as we can,” DNR assistant director of fisheries Mike Naylor told the Washington Post. “These sanctuaries are permanent.”

About Us

Bay on the Brink is a multimedia reporting project examining the fate of the Chesapeake Bay. It is produced by fellows at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism as part of News21, a consortium of journalism schools. This is the fellows' blog. The full project site is here:
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A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr