Watermen, Scientists Concerned Over 2017-2018 Oyster Season - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Watermen, Scientists Concerned Over 2017-2018 Oyster Season

Posted: 09/29/2017 19:39:00 -04:00 Updated:

ST. MICHAELS, Md. - On Friday afternoon, waterman Guy Spurry was busy loading his truck with fresh caught blue crab, and despite oyster season officially starting on Oct. 2, he says he'll be sticking with the crabs for a bit.

"It's always been a roller coaster," Spurry said. "You have good years and bad years."

Spurry says crabbing has been good this season. As for oysters, not so much.

"Last season, in 2016, was pretty poor," Spurry said.

Spurry says overfishing is part of the reason and it's not a first.

"Couple winters I didn't even want to do it because it was bad, so it's not like it hasn't been bad before," Spurry said.

Scientist Kelley Cox from the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center agrees.

"I don't hear a lot of talk about, 'Hey, it's going to be a great season,' so I'm kind of concerned about that," Cox said.

Cox says water salinity levels this year are high, which makes oysters vulerable to parasitic diseases.

"We have had good rainfall this year, but our salinity seems fairly unaffected by it," Cox said. "We've been pretty high all year."

Cox says she and her team have been fighting to keep and grow more oysters. Along with a nursery, the Center also has an upweller as well as reef balls ready to be planted with baby oysters.

"More oysters, more crab, more fish, more everything!" Cox said.

Even with such a dreary outlook this season, both Cox and Spurry say it's not something they're alarmed of.

"I've seen it about half a dozen times in the last 38 years," Spurry said. "It's always been that way."


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