The Chesapeake Bay froze-over this winter for the first time since maybe the mid 90’s, blocking waterman from scooping oysters. But then, we may get a longer oyster season as a result.
The Maryland Department of the Environment has okayed oystering in Kent Narrows — the narrow waterway between Kent Island and the Eastern Shore — for the first time in six years. They tested the water quality and found it was clean enough for oystering because the cold winter minimized boating through the marina-filled Narrows.
At the same time, the Department of Natural Resources is suggesting the season be extended this year and the state legislature is considering the idea. Oyster season usually ends March 31. They haven’t said what the end-date might be.
Pamela Wood with the Baltimore Sun reports oysters are going for about $45 per bushel directly from watermen, a bit higher this year. The price had ranged between $20 and $40 per bushel the past few years. She also writes about the impact on watermen.
Several communities are having ‘end of season’ oyster festivals this month, even if the season is extended. Check them out on our events calendar.