Oyster Season Begins in Maryland

It’s oyster season again on the mid and upper Chesapeake Bay. Maryland oysters are good October through March.

More than 1,100 licensed harvesters will be working to bring oysters to a restaurant near you. During October, only hand tonging, patent tonging and diving are permitted. Power dredging season begins on November 1. That’s when harvest activity rises dramatically.

Chesapeake Bay oyster
Photo courtesy Chesapeake Bay Oyster Company

Here are the rules if you’re going to do a little oystering yourself:

  • October: Monday through Friday, sunrise until 3pm
  • November-December: sunrise until sunset
  • January-March: sunrise until 3pm
  • Maryland oyster season ends with the month of March
  • Oysters must be bigger than three-inches

Last year oystermen brought in an estimated $14 million worth of oysters, a 15 year high.

Sadly, native oysters are now 1% or less of historical levels due to harvesting, disease, changes in water quality and other factors, according to NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay office.

But officials are working to keep the oyster business going through Chesapeake Bay oyster farms and protected areas. The oyster harvest has been slowly increasing, nearly doubling since 2010 and reaching the highest level since modern monitoring began in 1985.

To see what it’s like to get oysters from the Bay to your serving platter, we’ve found you a couple videos:

Compare that with dredging.


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