Property Rights Increase Oyster Farming

(p. A14) Oyster farming, also known as aquaculture, is one of the few growing businesses here on the western shore of Maryland, a sleepy outpost best known for the sunburned watermen who have pulled crabs and fish from bays like Chesapeake and Calvert for generations. Recent changes to state policy and a growing national affection for oysters (sprinkled with lemon juice only, please) have brought back the shellfish, once as much a staple to Maryland as corn is to Iowa. In the past few years, the state has issued 111 oyster farming leases across 2,240 acres of waters; scores more are pending.
. . .
Oyster farmers — a mélange of scientists, businesspeople, new-career seekers and others — argue that by recreating oyster reefs, they are helping to clean the area’s bays, stimulate the very ecosystem that sustains crab and fish populations and return a tradition to the region.
. . .
[In 2010], Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the Shellfish Aquaculture Leasing bill, removing many impediments to shellfish aquaculture, including prohibitions on leasing in many county waters, making them available for the first time to nonresidents and corporations, and ending restrictions on the amount of space that could be leased. Oyster farming immediately took off in various regions of coastal Maryland.
Farmed oysters, like their wild kin, serve as filters for the water — one oyster can suck down and spit out 50 gallons of water a day — but are less prone to disease.

For the full story, see:
JENNIFER STEINHAUER. “A New Bounty of Oysters, but There Is a Snag.” The New York Times (Fri., NOV. 7, 2014): A14 & A18.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date NOV. 6, 2014, and has the title “A New Bounty of Oysters in Maryland, but There Is a Snag.”)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *