It may sound Big Brother-ish, but in light of the Bay’s severely depleted oyster populations and the well documented problem of poaching from oyster sanctuaries, the idea is gaining some supporters. The Baltimore Sun and (Salisbury, Maryland) Daily Times recently endorsed the idea of GPS tracking devices aboard commercial oystering boats. Even Maryland Watermen’s Association President Larry Simns has made favorable comments about the tracking device concept, telling the Capital News Service “honest watermen want to do whatever it takes.”
The debate over boat surveillance -– as an alternative to an outright moratorium on oyster harvesting to save the dwindling species -- has intensified since a Capital News Service report last week. That report concluded that between a third and 80 percent of the sites where oysters have been planted in sanctuaries in the Bay have been hit by illegal harvest of oysters.