Horn Point Breaking Oyster Production Records - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Horn Point Breaking Oyster Production Records

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CAMBRIDGE, Md. - One year ago the University of Maryland's Horn Point Oyster Hatchery produced 610 million baby oysters. But that is nothing compared to what it accomplished this year.

"We had a record number of oyster spat from the hatchery, we did over 880 million spat on shells this year," said Don Merritt, director of the Horn Point Oyster Hatchery.

Those 880 million oysters were deployed to restoration sites around the Chesapeake Bay, including the Harris Creek sanctuary program and even public fisheries. Meritt said despite the success of the program, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

"This facility is designed to do a billion to 2 billion a year once everything is clicking," he said. "And we weren't clicking this year in the fact that we didn't have enough resources to operate at maximum. This year, had we had those resources, we probably could have done twice as many."

Oysters may not look like much but they are a lot more than just a seafood treat.

"Oysters are important to the health of the Chesapeake Bay because they are the bottom feeders," Merritt said. "They help clean the excess nutrients out of the water, they help provide habitats for other organisms and they also provide part of the seafood business that has been identified with Maryland over the years."

Oysters were once a mainstay in the bay now. But now they are being grown inside of a lab to improve the bay's overall health.

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