For those who love oysters – and if we want to save the Chesapeake Bay, we should all care about these shellfish with their gooey grey insides – the Bay Journal has published a terrific series about the push to bring them back by “farming” them.
Time was when folks the world over associated the Chesapeake with oysters. Watermen in Maryland and Virginia hauled in millions upon millions of bushels of the bivalves every year, and eateries across the nation featured what was then the bay’s signature seafood on their menus.
Oysters have fallen on hard times since then, as has the bay. Overharvesting in those seeming days of plenty, habitat loss and now diseases peculiar to the bivalves have ravaged the Chesapeake’s population and decimated a once-thriving fishing industry. Their decline has hurt the bay, because oysters filter the water and helped keep it clean. Many believe replenishing the bay’s oysters, with their filtering capacity, is key to restoring the bay.