Oct 5, 2006

Strong Oyster Season for Maryland!!


Oyster season in the Chesapeake Bay is off to a good start, watermen say.The season, which started Oct. 2 and runs until March 30, is particularly strong in Maryland waters, though some dead oysters are being found in Virginia’s James River.In Maryland, “what they are finding are monster oysters, nice, big oysters. They’re beautiful,” waterman Kevin Marshall told The (Baltimore) Examiner.Right now watermen are tonging and diving for the oysters. In November, they will be allowed to begin power dredging. Prices in the early season were about $30 a bushel, a daily payoff of about $450 for a waterman who catches his full 15 bushel daily limit.“Up the bay around Annapolis and Rock Hall and those places, they had their limits before noon,” Marshall said.Larry Simns, president of the Maryland Waterman’s Association, said early signs point to a strong oyster season.“I have heard the last few days everyone is catching their limit. That’s a good sign this time of year. For them to be medium fat is really good for this time of year,” Simns told the newspaper.However, Simns added that oysters have had a high death rate in the James River this year. The water there is saltier, which creates a more potent breeding ground for parasitic organisms that kill oysters.Tom O’Connell, oyster expert for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, agreed that the oyster season appears healthy compared to recent years.“It looks like we are going to have an OK fishery this year, but its nothing compared to what we had historically,” O’Connell said.O’Connell said watermen may have June rains to thanks for easy catches so far this season. He said the state agency would complete an annual oyster survey by about Thanksgiving.Information from The Baltimore Examiner,


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