Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Potomac River Fisheries Commission Bans Oyster Gardens

Colonial Beach resident Michael Wardman says he was shocked to find out he couldn't create an oyster garden at his dock in the river.
Here in Maryland, the state will actually give you a tax write down of $500 on floats used to garden oysters at peoples personal docks, making the process all but free. Virginia has a similar program. What rationale does the PRFC offer for this decision?
Executive Secretary Kirby Carpenter told The Free Lance-Star that allowing so-called oyster gardening would be akin to leasing grounds to private growers. Carpenter says Virginia allows leasing Potomac oyster grounds, but not Maryland.
 Many people I know maintain such oysters, for their value as filter feeders in reducing algal pollution and as seed for new oysters stocks, but also as a yummy treat.

While I think growing oysters on this scale is of marginal value for the Bay on an ecological basis, I think the symbolic value is high, and I think the PRFC is being shortsighted.

UPDATE!  Capt. Mike sends a link to a more complete article. Which suggests one of their rationales is that oysters closer to habitation are more likely to be contaminated with pathogens.

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