Oyster Prices Drop, Watermen Take a Hit, Offer Solution - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Oyster Prices Drop, Watermen Take a Hit, Offer Solution

Posted: 12/06/2017 20:06:00 -05:00 Updated:

ST. MICHAELS, Md. - Oysters were being shucked inside Bay Hundred Seafood in St. Michaels on Wednesday morning.

Oysters often hard to come by for business owners like Joe Spurry.

"With the amount of oysters that we have to work with, you think it would stay high, but market dictates price," Spurry said.

Last week, watermen say the market price for one bushel of oysters dropped from $52 down to $45.

Spurry says that's not good.

"That's rare in the industry where you see a $7 cut in one day," Spurry said.

Along with low numbers at the start of the season, Spurry says the market in Virginia just recently opened up - increasing competition in Maryland and slashing prices.

"It's not a good combination," Spurry said.

According to Spurry, every year fewer and fewer baby oysters are being put back into oyster shells and the water, leaving fewer to grow and less for people like him to harvest and sell.

He says a solution - bringing back the Seed and Shell Program - a program he says worked for decades.

But others disagree.

David Sikorski of the Coastal Conservation Association said the Seed and Shell Program is only a temporary fix.

Sikorski believes the best long term solution is aquaculture.

Others ask - why not both?

"Why not try everything?" said Kelley Cox of the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center.

Cox says she'd like to see compromise between using aquaculture and the Seed and Shell Program.

"We all have to try and come together and say, 'This is best for the Bay,'" Cox said.

Spurry says he wants to see the best for the Bay too but asks - at what cost to him and watermen?

"We just got to get it done. We've just been talking about it and talking about it for years," Spurry said.

 

 

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