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A Moratorium on Oyster Harvesting?

Kalbird1 Fisheries managers on the Potomac River are discussing a moratorium on all oyster harvesting, to help the waterway’s depleted bivalves recover.  

What do you think about this?  Would you be in favor or against a moratorium on all oystering in the Potomac?  How about in the Chesapeake Bay?

Kirby A. Carpenter, executive secretary of the bistate Potomac River Fisheries Commission, told a meeting of oystermen last week that he will recommend a moratorium on taking oysters from the river when the commissioners meet next month, according to a report in the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star.

Carpenter’s theory is that, because some native Chesapeake oysters are now developing resistance to the diseases MSX and Dermo that have ravaged the species, more bivalves should be left in the water so that the disease-resistant ones can reproduce.

"Every oyster you remove from the river is one that has survived and may hold a gene that is resistant to the disease,” Carpenter said, according to the report. “We've got to leave as many native oysters in the river as possible to develop that resistance.”

The proposed moratorium would be the second in recent history. The river was closed to oystering for two seasons after the floods of tropical storm Agnes in 1972 killed an estimated 70 percent of the river's oysters.

Oysters in Virginia’s Great Wicomico River have shown surprising health recently when planted on top of substantial reefs, built from oyster shells. After all the bad news about Chesapeake oysters in recent decades, the Great Wicomico’s thriving colony of oysters has drawn lots of attention from The New York Times and The Washington Post, among other publications.

Perhaps this success portends hope for native oysters in the Potomac River and other waterways, too.




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An oyster ban would be good news. Again, (sorry) the story I did for The Sun some time ago, aboard Jack Russell's skipjack on the Bay with middle schoolers, revealed just how serious the situation is. And I'm sure the oyster depletion has only exacerbated since.

I agree ....
and I hate to say it but laying off the blue crab population for a while wouldn't hurt either. Better to loose them for a while then loose them for good!

I would support a ban on oysters to help them recover. They are so essential to the the health of the bay. The ban on Rockfish helped their population recover a few years back. I think any sort of moratorium will potentially help them.

I wonder how views on a moratorium on oysters and crabbing would change if your livelyhood depended souly on these two jobs.I'm from TANGIER,VA and taking away our resources takes away our 400 yr.heritage and the only means for some people to put food on the table..... I suggest you think of this each time you enjoy Chesapeake Bay treasues! Now,if ya want to start a discussion.....Lets talk obout the un-talked about SPORTSFISHERMAN,.....shall we?

i think if you don't live in the bay area you shouldn't be oysterin or crabbin here. there are boats that come from way up north , like maine and boats that come from the gulf of mexico states to fish here in the bay and take away alot . those boats need to have their licenses taken from them and be sent on their way back to their home states.

Take, take, take, take. Blame, blame, blame, blame. Commercial fishermen have killed the bay and that should be your 400 year legacy. Look what happened after a rockfish moratorium? They are thick as thieves. We need a 5 year moratorium on oysters AND crabs to let them recover. That will give the fishermen time to devise some type of bottom ... Read Moredredger ala the northern banks and kill everything in the bay ...Take, take, take......

Oh, I wonder why there are no more crabs or oysters? Hey ...blame it on pollution.


Any chance Tangier could start oyster farming to offset wild oystering? I mean, if the oyster population is further depleted what will future does Tangier Island have? Has to be a way to support, local commercial fishing interests AND boost the population of Oysters. Someone with 400-year-old roots to the bay should get better treatment than someone who just moved there and started oyster in the past decade... take away carpet-bagger licenses.

Last year Tangier had a bumper crop as far as the oyster season,when the weather permitted most all of the oystermen who worked the waters of Tangier,were able to catch their limits, most of the time befoe 10 am,'s very distubing to think that this way of life could be and is theatened.

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