"State sets new record for oyster restoration; 750,000,000 spat placed in rivers that feed the Bay."
The Capital, 2009
Vital to Nature
The native Eastern or American oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is a keystone species in the Chesapeake Bay. With lifespan of 10+ years, oyesters clean the Bay by filtering algae from the water. A single mature oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. The Bay used to be filtered in days, now it takes over a year.
Oysters also naturally create three-dimensional reefs which provide surface for new oysters and other filter feeders like mussels, barnacles and sponges. Small fish like gobies, blennies and toadfish use oyster reefs as their primary habitat, which attract larger fish, like white perch and striped bass, and blue crabs.
Vital to Our Future
The State of Maryland and a group of dedicated oyster restoration partners are using the latest science and technology to rebuild the oyster population. Efforts include annually producing and planting hundreds of millions of disease-free, hatchery raised oysters on targeted oyster reefs to return their vital function to the Bay. Maryland watermen and entrepreneurs are also farm raising oysters and clams to produce and supply the public with locally grown, sustainable