Secretary Griffin’s Response to Dr. Michael Wilberg’s Scientific Oyster Findings
09/01/2011 | Posted by mnaylorTags: Shellfish, Oyster
“It is the goal of Maryland to develop an abundant, self-sustaining native oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay; one that will be an ecological, economic and cultural resource for the Bay and for Maryland citizens. The scientific findings of Dr. Michael Wilberg’s (UMCES) oyster research confirms that the steps taken in Maryland over the last two years to implement a new oyster restoration plan were reasonable and necessary,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin.
“Maryland’s new Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan is based on the results of the 6-year Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, the most comprehensive study on Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration alternatives ever undertaken. One of the first steps undertaken in this plan was the protection of 24 percent of the remaining oyster bar habitats from harvest -- including some of the Bay’s most productive oyster bars. These protected areas will be monitored side-by-side with harvest areas to directly measure the impact of the fishery on the resource over the next 4 years. At the same time, the plan implemented actions to facilitate aquaculture development and committed to a more science based management framework for the public oyster fishery that includes sustainable harvest targets. Together with more significant fishery penalties and more sophisticated enforcement, we are making a difference.
DNR fishery managers and biologists will continue to work tirelessly with scientists, watermen, sports fishermen and conservation groups to create a sustainable fishery, create green job opportunities and preserve the waterman’s way of life. Because of this new plan, we do not agree that a complete harvest moratorium on the fishery is appropriate at this time,” Griffin concluded.