New Model Says Number of Maryland Market-Size Oysters Half of 1999 Count

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By Connie Morrison
A new study of oysters in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay estimates not only has the population of market-size oysters not rebounded in the last 19 years, it has been cut in half.
A 1999 estimate put the number of oysters in the upper bay at 600 million. A study by Mike Wilberg of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science places that estimate closer to 300 million.
The new estimate was derived using a model. The model, methodology, and conclusions were reviewed by an independent panel of experts in August and found to be sound.
Maryland’s General Assembly called for the oyster stock assessment in 2016.
According to a report in the Baltimore Sun, the state is resisting a moratorium for now, although some consider expanding oyster preserves as serving the same purpose as a moratorium, because it prevents watermen from taking oysters within the protected areas.