Posts Tagged ‘Chesapeake Bay’

And Then There Were None

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Inspired by Md. plan aims to restore Chesapeake Bay oysters (Washington Post 12/03/09).


The Chesapeake used to be famous for oysters.

Second to no one.

They covered the whole Bay bottom.

Now there are almost none.


Now 99 percent are gone

Due to over-harvesting and pollution.

Maryland Governor O’Malley

Has come up with a three step solution.


$39 million has already been invested

By the State and Federal government.

But in spite of all that money

Oyster numbers have continued their descent.


That’s because while the government

Has been busy re-seeding millions of oysters in the Bay

Local watermen have been busy

Taking them right back away.


But oysters aren’t just a business

For the remaining local watermen.

They are (or were) a crucial part of the Bay’s ecosystem

For cleaning the water again.


O’Malley’s plan will more than double oyster sanctuary size

And improve sanctuary protection enforcement.

Kim Kobel, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation,

Called the plan a “new paradigm to oyster management.”


Watermen didn’t like the plan too much

Because of the new oystering restrictions that resulted

The Waterman’s Association said it was only told of the plan the day before,

And they were frustrated about not having been consulted.


The number of Maryland waterman is dwindling

From 2000 in the eighties to just 500 now.

But that number would quickly go down to zero

If the State unrestricted harvesting would allow.


To keep the watermen from going extinct themselves,

The State is opening up new areas for oyster aquaculture.

But it’s hard to know if that will allow the watermen

To preserve their dying culture.


The lesson to be learned here

Is that one can only abuse nature for so long

And those that want to put off taking action

Are almost always wrong.

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