Wednesday, March 16, 2011

PRFC To Allow Oyster Gardening in the Potomac

PRFC reverses stand on oyster gardening
The Potomac River Fisheries Commission has decided to permit oyster gardening and is seeking other new ways to restore the once- plentiful, now nearly extinct species to the river.

The commission's actions came at its meeting in Colonial Beach last week, when it also received a report that just 72 bushels of oysters had been harvested from the river since the season opened in November...
72 bushels in a year? Back in the glory days of oysters, that might have been a mediocre day for a single boat, among hundreds.
...Disease, over-harvesting, nutrient pollution from farms and lawns and the naturally slow rate of Potomac oyster reproduction are often cited as reasons for the decline.

The decline has also caused the near disappearance of fees that the bistate commission once collected to replenish oyster grounds in the river...
No need replenish a resource that isn't being utilized.  Maybe if they just didn't fish them, there might be a few more.
...The commission's decision Friday to allow oyster gardening for non-commercial purposes may help add a few bushels to the river's oyster grounds.

The new policy reverses the PRFC's previous ban on oyster gardening in the river. The prohibition was based on a provision in PRFC's enabling legislation that forbids private leasing of the river's oyster grounds.

The new policy allows oysters to be grown in floats under piers for environmental and educational purposes. The policy stipulates that oyster gardens at piers on the Maryland shore of the river must follow Maryland guidelines and gardens on the Virginia shore must follow Virginia guidelines...
Boy, that must have taken a lot of courage...

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