Maryland Proposes No-Harvest Wednesdays for Upcoming Oyster Seas - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland Proposes No-Harvest Wednesdays for Upcoming Oyster Season

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Credit: Maryland DNR Credit: Maryland DNR

CAMBRIDGE, Md. - A big change to Maryland's upcoming oyster season: the Department of Natural Resources says Wednesdays will be closed for harvesting. The new policy also proposes some temporary closures of areas where there are little to no oysters as well as changes to recreational oystering.

Rob Newberry of the Delmarva Fisheries Association says the change will hurt watermen wallets. But, it's a stark difference from an original proposal from DNR to shorten the season, which would start ten days later and end ten days sooner.

"To shorten the season on the front is bad for the industry because there's a lot of oyster fests and we've got Thanksgiving coming up," Newberry said.


Maryland DNR's new proposal will decrease harvests by 26-percent. It's necessary, DNR says, to reach goals in restoring oyster populations over the next decade.

But environmentalists say the new policy is not enough. Alan Girard of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation says the best plan is to use alternative catch rates. The goal: to stop harvests once a set limit is reached.

"Putting aside a day of a week for harvest really doesn't address the fact that overfishing is happening on these certain bars," Girard said. "Over half of the harvestable bars in Maryland are experiencing overfishing."

It's a frustrating time for watermen, who continue to wait for a normal oyster season to come.

Both watermen and environmentalists say, in the light of the changes, they plan on finding and working with Maryland DNR on some other alternatives.

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