The state of Maryland has decided to reduce the large-scale oyster restoration project goal in the Little Choptank River after boaters ran aground at another sanctuary and some of the man-made reefs there had to be rebuilt.Well, you should put them far enough below mean low tide that it's not likely to happen.
The sanctuaries are among five planned to be built as part of a federal-state agreement to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.But then, when they're spat, you can fit a million oysters in 20 gallon tank. Ask me how how I know. But that doesn't' mean there are 19.5 million less adult oysters. And you can only filter water so many times before you run out of food.
The project, which grows and plants oysters on man-made beds in protected waterways, has been touted by environmentalists and generally opposed by watermen. Numerous agencies have agreed to a longterm goal of growing oysters on at least 50 percent of restorable oyster habitat.
The habitat goal for the Little Choptank River sanctuary has been cut by 118 acres — about one-fourth of the original target.
This means there will be roughly 19.5 million fewer oysters at this site alone — enough to filter up to 1.03 billion liters of water per day.
Oysters’ capacity to filter water can vary widely depending on temperature, salinity and other factors, according to Matthew Gray, an assistant professor specializing in oyster feeding habits at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.That's quite a specialization. I wonder what he dreams about at night?
A construction error in Harris Creek — Maryland’s first large-scale oyster restoration site — caused damage to multiple boats, as vessels grounded or scraped against stone-based reefs that did not meet five feet of navigational clearance, officials said.That's one way to get the barnacle off your hull. Not the right way.
Skeptical of oyster restoration from the start, watermen have complained of trotlines getting stuck in new stone river bottoms and boats being damaged by oyster reef “high spots” in Harris Creek. A trotline is a long, heavy fishing line with short, baited lines suspended from it. They are often used to catch blue crabs in Maryland.And they should be more careful, being on the water almost every day, and know their home waters.
Watermen depend on their boats to earn a living. No boat means no fishing. No fishing means no income.
Remember the Fritz oyster restoration plan. No fishing on "wild" oysters for 10 years. If oysters haven't recovered, they're not going to. Go ahead and plant other species that will succeed.