Power Dredging Season Open in Maryland - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Power Dredging Season Open in Maryland

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Tilghman Island, Md.- After a long and poor crabbing season, Maryland's watermen say they are glad oyster power dredging season has finally arrived.

Oyster season first opened October first for hand tongs, on November first, the fishery was open to everyone.  Watermen say they were able to catch their entire quota in less than an hour in many cases.

Charles Phillips says power dredging is good for the oyster population.

"We're constantly cleaning the bottom up so the oysters can break apart and grow good and so far it's working out good." said Phillips.

Steven "Podge" Jones says that while the harvest was good today, in a few weeks, it will be more difficult.  He says oyster sanctuaries set up by the department of natural resources have shut down a good majority of the places watermen used to dredge, leaving little for the hundreds of watermen to fish.

"For a couple of weeks it's gonna be good, and then it's gonna be a struggle.  I mean there's no place to go." said Jones.

An 840,000 dollar grant from NOAA to plant more oyster beds in Harris Creek is garnering criticism from watermen as well, who say since the bottom is not being dredged, the oysters will sink into the silt and die.

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