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.