Horn Point Oyster Hatchery on Track for Another Great Year - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Horn Point Oyster Hatchery on Track for Another Great Year

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CAMBRIDGE, Md.-  They go through bubblers, downflowers, scraping, floating, setting, and much more at Horn Point's oyster hatchery.  It's a busy start to life for the oyster larvae.

"We're trying to use sound science to find the most cost effective ways to restore healthy oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay," said Dr. Mutt Meritt, hatchery program director.

Meritt and his team do that through two methods primarily. One method is by growing spat on shell, using tanks like these to allow floating oyster larvae to attach to recycled shell.  Another method involves growing the oysters almost from scratch using small shell fragments.

Last year, the hatchery experienced a problem in which some oysters would stop growing for an unknown reason.  This year, the problem is back, but on a much smaller scale, and production is looking good.

"We're still producing, so I don't know what our final numbers are going to be," Meritt said. "I think we're going to be on par with last year, maybe a little more I hope.  I'm always optimistic that we're going to do more."

Last year saw 970 million oysters produced, 1.2 billion the year before.  And the customers are lining up from across the country - and even the world - for those oysters, according to Seed Sales Manager Stacey Willey.

"We've had very high demand from out of state places like North Carolina, New Jersey, Florida.  Last year we sold to Hong Kong," Willey said. 

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