Chesapeake Bay Oysters Get More Attention at Pivotal Time

RIDGE — Robert T. Brown pulled an oyster shell from a pile freshly harvested by a dredger from the Chesapeake Bay and talked enthusiastically about the larvae attached — a sign of a future generation critical to the health of the nation’s largest estuary.

On an overcast November morning, he culled market-sized oysters and tossed them into a basket. He slid smaller oysters and shells back into the bay, as watermen on several other nearby boats did the same in southern Maryland.

“It’s not all doom and gloom like the environmentalists say it is,” Brown, who is president of the Maryland Watermen’s Association, said after catching his 10-bushel-per-day limit. “We have a large number of small oysters that are going back overboard. I’m looking for us to have a good season this year, and we’re looking for a good one next year. As long as we have small oysters, we will have big ones.”

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