New Oyster Facility at UMCES - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Reported by Brian Spyros

New Oyster Facility at UMCES

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The new oyster setting facility is located on a concrete pier in the Choptank River and has 52 large containers on the pier. (Photo: WBOC) The new oyster setting facility is located on a concrete pier in the Choptank River and has 52 large containers on the pier. (Photo: WBOC)

CAMBRIDGE, Md.- A new facility was dedicated over the weekend at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

An oyster setting facility will open next month at the Horn Point Laboratory outside of Cambridge. The $11 million facility is geared toward helping to boost the oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay and Choptank River.

"We already have been doing oyster setting and producing spat on the property at Horn Point for a number of years. This is greatly going to help expand that," said Dave Nemazie, a marine scientist at Horn Point.

The new oyster setting facility is located on a concrete pier in the Choptank River and has 52 large containers on the pier. Oyster larvae will be placed inside those containers which are filled with eight metal casings filled with oyster shells. The larvae will attach to those shells and form what's known as spat. The spat will then be placed in certain locations throughout the bay and encourage the development of oyster bars.

"That helps us go from what might have been hundreds of acres of oyster bottoms to potentially thousands of acres of oyster bottom," said Nemazie.

The opening of the oyster setting facility comes amid calls from the state to increase the number of oyster sanctuaries from 9 percent to 25 percent to help boost the declining population. Many watermen say this move will greatly affect their livelihood.

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