Jan 29, 2007

Clams Help Oysters...

My dad spied this article today in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Worth the read....
Clams give Jersey oysters a leg up
Abundant clamshells provide a natural hatchery, and the Delaware Bay harvest is up 27 pct.
By Sandy Bauers
Inquirer Staff Writer

For 50 years, the Delaware Bay's oysters have been in a losing battle against two parasites that have decimated their numbers, and scientists have spent as many years trying to bring them back.
Last week, biologists announced that the latest efforts yielded a 27 percent jump in last summer's harvest of the salty, meaty oyster. But they also warned that ensuring a healthy future for the bivalve would cost millions.
In 1957, a parasite called MSX swept through the bay, killing as many as 95 percent of the oysters in some beds. Just about the time oysters began to develop a resistance, along came another parasite, Dermo.
Neither hurts humans. But they kill oysters, and their habitat. The problem is that new oysters need old oysters. A lot of them.
Oyster shells create reefs, which free-floating oyster larvae latch onto, becoming what biologists call "spat." There they remain until they die or are harvested.
If the larvae land, say, in the silt of the Delaware Bay bottom instead of on oyster shells, they're goners. The primitive organisms have been around for millions of years, yet they never learned to swim or perform other similar aquatic survival functions.
"A really stupid design," quipped Roger Mann of the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, who spoke at a three-day Delaware estuary science conference in Cape May.
As it turns out, New Jersey has one of the largest clam harvests in the nation.
In 2003, New Jersey planted 25,000 bushels of clamshell in the lower bay, where the tidal sloshings take most of the larvae, and the high salinity encourages growth.
"It's nature's hatchery," says Russ Babb, a fisheries biologist with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
But they couldn't leave the shell there long-term. Dermo also thrives in the high salinity. It would kill the oysters before they matured.
So later that year, workers recovered much of the shell - finding it contained 81 times more spat than the baywide average - and replanted it in a seedbed known as Bennies Sand north of the Maurice River, where the salinity is lower.
Then they waited.
In 2006, the DEP's Jason Hearon reported last week, the test paid off. Harvesters took an additional 13,393 bushels - a 27 percent increase - because so many Bennies oysters survived.
The project cost $42,000. But it earned $535,000 for the harvesters. Or, factoring in processors, transporters and the like, $3 million overall.
"I'd like my stockbroker to get me that kind of return," Hearon joked.
In 2005, with $900,000 in funding, they planted still more clamshell.
In 2006, with $2 million in federal funding, they planted the most ever - 500,000 bushels.
But it is not enough to get the population over any sort of hump. Dermo is still killing.
Scientists now say that for Delaware Bay oysters to survive, the industry will have to plant 500,000 bushels of shell a year, boatload upon boatload of them, at a cost of roughly $1 million, indefinitely.
"If we do less, then we can anticipate the slow, steady degradation" of the oysters, says Eric Powell, director of Rutgers University's Haskins Shellfish Research Lab in Port Norris.
Many of the clams are dredged miles offshore and brought to port in Point Pleasant Beach and Atlantic City, then trucked to Surfside Products in Bivalve, where the meat is saved for chowder and the shells are stacked outside.
Last Tuesday, project manager Veronica Sergiacomi walked along a mound 190 feet long, 60 feet wide, and 15 feet tall - 100,000 bushels. And growing.
She shook her head in amazement. Never quite a waste product, in recent years it has been used as aggregate for driveways and bulkheads.
That will have to stop, Powell says. "It's too important a resource."
Assuming the industry can get enough shell, "the obvious question now is, how are we going to finance it?" says Kathy Klein, executive director of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, a nonprofit group that sponsored the conference. She says oysters are one of the estuary's most urgent problems.
Powell says saving the oyster requires political will. State and federal legislators, he says, "are going to have to make a decision to have this be an ecological entity or let it die."
Meanwhile, diners that perhaps forgot about the Delaware Bay oyster are rediscovering them. They're becoming popular at Philadelphia restaurants like the Sansom Street Oyster House. "A salty, delicate oyster," says owner Cary Neff.
Oystermen remain hopeful. "We're on the right road," says Steve Fleetwood, manager of Bivalve Packing Co., which ships oysters around the country.
Last Tuesday, with tide and temperature falling fast, Dan Carter and his father-in-law, Bill Moore, slipped on layers of hats, coats and gloves and headed out together in an open skiff.
They planned to tong off the mouth of the Maurice River until just before sunset.
"If you're on oysters," Moore says with a smile, "you can get three to five bushels an hour."


Jan 21, 2007

Politics and Oysters

I found this article to be of interest.

Maryland politicians make the rounds at an oyster dinner. This seems to be a hold-over from the 19th century!

March 10, 2007- Calthamet, WA

An oyster feed...never heard of that term before....

Puget Island crab, oyster feed set for March 10

Tickets are for sale for the crab and oyster feed to be held March 10
at the Norse Hall in Cathlamet (on Puget Island).

Three seatings will be available.

Tickets can be purchased at the Bank of the Pacific, Bank of America,
the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce and the Cathlamet Pharmacy.

For details, including ticket prices and times, call the Chamber at 795-9996.

From http://www.tdn.com/articles/2007/01/18/area_news/news04.txt

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Jan 16, 2007

Md. lawmakers pledge new push to revive Chesapeake Bay oysters

Md. lawmakers pledge new push to revive Chesapeake Bay oysters
By KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS — Chesapeake Bay oysters should get more help because
they're the best hope for cleaning the bay, legislative leaders said

Democratic House Speaker Michael Busch said the restoration of native
oysters — and not transplantation of imported Asian oysters — would be
the top environmental priority this year, though he didn't say exactly
how much should be spent.

"We want to see progress with getting that native oyster replenished,"
Busch said at an annual environmental summit in Annapolis.

Outgoing Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich urged speedy research into
whether Asian oysters should be dropped into the Chesapeake. The
thinking was that the Asian oysters are resistant to a disease that
nearly wiped out native oysters, but environmental groups urged
caution. Busch and other officials said Monday that Ehrlich's election
loss to Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley means a more deliberative
approach on Asian oysters.

"Everybody I've talked to with any experience in this area is suspect
of the Asian oyster," Busch said.

Another lawmaker — Democratic Delegate Virginia Clagett — said
officials should slow study on the Asian oyster until they're sure the
Asian species wouldn't hurt the bay's ecology.

"If we let them in, it's not like recalling a car or a toaster.
They're there for good," Clagett said of the Asian oysters.

Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said research
on the Asian oysters should continue, but lawmakers should first help
native oysters.

"Clearly the momentum is behind the native oyster," Baker said.

Oysters are seen as a barometer of the bay's health and a means to
restore the waterway.

In centuries past, oysters were able to filter all of the water in the
bay in three or four days. Now, thanks to overharvesting, pollution
and disease, oyster stocks have dwindled so much that it takes a year
for oysters to filter the bay's water, the House Speaker said.

Environmentalists said they were enthused Monday about Democratic
gains in the legislature and the victory of O'Malley, a Democrat who
takes office Wednesday.

"I think you're going to be very proud of the next four years," said
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.

Besides more money for oyster restoration, lawmakers pledged to join
other states in requiring cleaner emissions from new cars in Maryland.
They also said legislators would consider ways to encourage wind power
production and that O'Malley pledged to leave intact money designated
to buy open space.

O'Malley's designee to lead the state Department of the Environment,
Shari Wilson, said environmental concerns would get more attention
over the next four years.

"It seems like things are lining up for the environment," said Wilson,
currently a lawyer who represents Baltimore in environmental cases.

Jan 15, 2007

An Obit that Mentions Oyster Dinners!

I thought it was cool that this woman's family chose to remember her participation in preparing oyster dinners for her church!

Mrs. June Rhoten
As originally published on Saturday, January 13, 2007.

Mrs. June Florence Rhoten, 86 of Frederick, died Friday, January 12,
2007, at her home. She was the wife of the late James Nicholas Rhoten

Born August 12, 1920, in Waynesboro, Pa., she was the daughter of the
late Eber and Nellie Baker Overcash.

Mrs. Rhoten was a member of the Lewistown United Methodist Church and
the Women's Society at the church, where she helped with many potpie
dinners. She was also a member of the Lewistown District Volunteer
Fire Department Women's Auxiliary, always helping with the oyster
dinners. She was a graduate of Thurmont High School. Mrs. Rhoten's
greatest love in life was her family, their celebrations, her friends
and her church.

She is survived by three children, Patricia Rhoten of Bridgeville,
N.J., James N. Rhoten Jr. and wife Geni of Thurmont and Janet Schmied
of Frederick; and her granddaughter, Julia Rhoten of Richmond, Va. She
was preceded in death by two brothers, Robert and Glenn Overcash.

The family will receive friends at the Stauffer Funeral Home, 1621
Opossumtown Pike, Frederick on Sunday, January 14, from 2 to 4 and 7
to 9 p.m. Services will be held at the Lewistown United Methodist
Church, 11032 Hessong Bridge Road, Thurmont on Monday, Jan. 15, at 11
a.m. with the Rev. David A. Coakley officiating.

From http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/obituaries/display.htm?id=20897

Jan 8, 2007

February 3, 2007- Oxford, PA

Ham & Oyster Dinner

Location: Union Fire Company No. 1 Memorial Hall
POC: Becky Taylor
Start Date: 02/03/2007
Duration 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM

The Union Fire Company No. 1 will host a Ham & Oyster Dinner this
evening (02/03/07) from 4pm-7pm.

The Dinner is All-You-Can-Eat and consists of Baked Ham, Fried
Oysters, Green Beans, Creamed Mushrooms, Parsley Potatos, Applesause,
Cole Slaw, and many Desserts.

Take-Out Meals are also Available.

Tickets for this Dinner are only $14 a person.

For Tickets or Additional Information, Please contact Becky Taylor at

From http://www.oxfordfire.com/index.cfm?fs=events.eventView&Event_ID=31

January 27, 2007- Oak Grove, SC

It must be oyster roast season in South Carolina......

Oak Grove Fundraiser

The annual Oak Grove Community Building oyster roast fund-raiser will
be held on Jan. 27, from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. The cost will be $25 per

Fish, shrimp, hushpuppies and slaw will also be available.

From http://www.bladenjournal.com/articles/2007/01/12/news/lifestyles/news01.txt

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January 20, 2007- Galena, MD

All-You-Can Eat Ham and Oyster Dinner

Date: January 20, 2007
Time: 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Event: Galena Vol. Fire Co. Ham and Oyster Dinner
Location: Galena Fire Hall, Galena, MD

Contact: Jack Duhamell

From http://www.kentcounty.com/events/

January 20, 2007- Timonium, MD

The Timonium Optimist Club holds its annual Bull and Oyster Roast Fundraiser,
1-5 p.m. Jan. 20 at Martin's West. Tickets $40. Call 410-252-0694 by Jan. 12.

From: http://news.mywebpal.com/

January 12, 2007- Georgetown, SC

Well...South Carolina is not Mid-Atlantic but it counts as beyond...so here ya go!

Winyah Bay Heritage Festival

January 12, 2007

Oyster Roast
5 pm
(ticket required, $20 - may get at the door)
East Bay Park
Music by Irene's Kitchen
7 pm
Awards Ceremony for Bob Timberlake Sporting Clays Classic

From http://winyahbay.org/winyahbay/index.htm

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The New Year is Here....

and I have three postings for you....let the eating begin!