Oysters | WYPR

Oysters

Oysters (Encore)

May 1, 2018
The National Aquarium

A longtime staple of our region’s maritime industries, oysters are more than just a briny snack. They play a critical role in the health of the Chesapeake region’s aquatic ecosystems, including the Inner Harbor. Take a listen to learn more. 

Oysters and Dead Zones: A New Experiment

Apr 27, 2018
Ben Spier

It’s known that oysters are not only a favorite delicacy, but also incredibly beneficial to their habitats because of their water-purifying powers. In fact, a typical adult oyster can purify up to 50 gallons of water a day.

But now, Maryland scientists wonder whether the bivalves can serve another purpose: to break up oxygen-starved “dead zones” plaguing the Chesapeake. And they’ve started an experiment in the Severn River, just north of the Route 50 bridge to test the idea.

A solution to oyster shell shortage?

Feb 20, 2018
Pamela D'Angelo

It’s an old Chesapeake tradition, paving driveways, decorating gardens and the bases of rural mailboxes with oyster shells. But it may give way to a different purpose; helping to restore the Chesapeake’s decimated oyster population. Here’s why.

Oyster shells are just the thing an oyster farmer needs to spread across three or four acres of leased bottom in a Chesapeake tributary to form a bed for baby oysters to attach themselves and grow. But shells are hard to come by (see: tradition and decimated population), and expensive; $3 to $4 a bushel. And that’s where homeowners like Jeff and Lisa Duffy come in.

Oyster stories from Virginia's Northern Neck

Nov 7, 2017
Pamela D'Angelo

It's November... one of those months with an "r" in it... and that means it's oyster season on the Chesapeake Bay, a tradition that goes back centuries. The folks at Belle Isle State Park, on Virginia’s Northern Neck, are working to preserve some of that tradition with the stories of people who lived there and worked in the oyster business in the 1940s and 1950s. Correspondent Pamela D’Angelo has compiled some of their stories. 

Just as Maryland and Virginia are in the middle of ambitious oyster restoration efforts in Chesapeake Bay tributaries, a new threat has appeared; excess acid in the deeper waters.

According to new research out of the University of Delaware, deeper bay waters—30 to 50 feet—are becoming more acidic. That means carbon dioxide is dissolving in the water, which could potentially hurt oysters.

Trump budget eliminates oyster restoration funds

Jun 5, 2017
Pamela D'Angelo

 

In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order recognizing the Chesapeake Bay as a national treasure. That began a federal-state partnership to restore and protect it, including a plan to revive the wild oyster population through sanctuaries on restored reefs in Maryland and Virginia.

But the budget President Trump sent to Congress eliminates funding for that plan. And that has complicated even further an already complicated effort to restore the reefs gutted by a century of overfishing, disease and pollution. 

John Lee

Oysters are nature’s filtration machines, and there used to be enough of them in the Chesapeake Bay to filter and clean all that water in three days. Now, there are so few oysters it takes more than a year.

So, environmentalists are trying to rebuild the population by growing oysters. And one of the so-called oyster gardens is in an unlikely place-- Baltimore’s polluted inner harbor. It’s part of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Baltimore Initiative.

I Love Blue Sea

Because wild Chesapeake Bay oysters are increasingly scarce, many oyster harvesters are switching to growing their own oysters in tanks and underwater cages.