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Chesapeake Bay 2023 Fall Oyster Survey Records Outstanding Spatfall

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Fall Oyster Survey recorded a remarkable year for juvenile oysters in Maryland waters, finding both prolific numbers and a widespread distribution throughout many regions of the Chesapeake Bay. The survey’s spatfall intensity index, a measure of reproductive success and potential population growth for oysters, was 86.8 spat, or juvenile oysters, per bushel, nearly four times the 39-year median of 23.6 spat per bushel and the fifth highest in that timeframe. “We have not recorded this extent of oyster spat recruitment in the fall survey in a generation,” said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz. “Both the quantity and the wide distribution of spat throughout the Bay, including several areas where our biologists have rarely observed spat in nearly 40 years of results, are outstanding. We plan to build on these natural spatsets by continuing oyster restoration efforts and promoting aquaculture to bolster the overall oyster population.” This survey, which measures the population status of oysters in the Bay, marks the fourth consecutive year of above-median results for juvenile oysters, a promising sign for restoration efforts for the bivalve, which has faced precipitous population declines over the decades. Aside from the spatfall intensity index, the department […]

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