Extended Oyster Season Ends, Shattering a 28 Year Record

This season’s oyster harvest in Maryland may exceed $15 million, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police. That would be the highest total value in 28 years, since the 1986-87 oyster season. 

Oyster tonging
Photo courtesy Maryland Sea Grant

In comparison, watermen tonged 442,382 bushels last season, with a dockside value of $14 million. Last year, that was a 15 year record.

Chesapeake Bay oysters are on the rise due to conservation efforts, more than doubling since 2010, but still nowhere near what the numbers used to be in the heydays when monitoring began in 1884 and 15 million bushels were harvested that season.

Tuesday was Maryland’s last day of the 2014-15 wild oyster season. The state legislature extended it two weeks to help out watermen who were frozen off from the Chesapeake Bay during this harsh winter.

Wild Maryland oysters are now off-limits until next October.

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