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GETTING STARTED

Oyster Cage You’ll need…

  • An existing pier or wharf with at least four feet of water located on the Tred Avon River, including creeks, coves and inlets.
  • The willingness to keep and provide maintenance for Four cages of oysters for 9 to 12 months.
  • An interest in the welfare of the Chesapeake Bay and becoming a better steward.
After I sign up, what can I expect to happen?
You will receive notification that the cages containing up to 1,000 oyster spat are ready for pickup in your local community, probably on October 4 or October 11. At the time of pickup you will receive a short briefing and information package on how to care for your oysters and then receive your oyster cages. You can also arrange to have the cages delivered to your home and installed.  Download the flier for more information.

How big are the cages?
The cages are 2 ft x 1 ft x 1 ft. They will weigh about 20 pounds with the oysters inside.

What do I do with the cages?
On the day you receive your cages, attach them to your pier or wharf (with the rope provided) so the cage hangs 1-2 feet below the surface of the water. If you have cages delivered, they will be attached for you.

What type of maintenance is required?
While the cages and oysters are in your care very little maintenance is required. Every few weeks, you should rinse your oysters by lifting the cage up and down out of the water to remove silt and sediment build up.

During the winter, however, the oysters will die if exposed to freezing air temperatures; cages must be kept entirely in the water even on very low winter tides. Place the cages so they are just above the creek bottom to minimize the potential for freezing . In the spring, you will re-raise the cage to below the water surface.

What happens at the end of the growing period?
In 9 to 12 months, you will be contacted and arrangements will be made for DNR representatives to collect your oysters for permanent placement on a sanctuary, an area closed to oyster harvesting.

What happens after the oysters are collected?
If you want to continue with the program you will receive new oyster spat. If you elect not to continue, your cages will be collected.

What happens if I have additional questions?
You will receive a Grow Oysters care guide when you receive your oysters. Should you have additional questions, we will be adding additional information to this website on a regular basis or email oysters@dnr.state.md.us to contact a DNR representative.

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Sponsors and Partners: MD Gov, DNR, Oyster Recovery Partnership, UMCES and DPSCS.