By Alex DeMetrick

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Oysters have been struggling to hang on in the bay, but now there’s a glimmer of hope on the half shell.

Alex DeMetrick reports the oyster’s survival rate is the highest it’s been in at least 15 years.

A Maryland survey finds oysters have hit a 92 percent survival rate against diseases that have killed massive numbers in the past.

“There are some hints of disease resistance from further south in Virginia. We’re not sure of that in Maryland but it could be some disease resistance is developing in the population,” said Mike Naylor, Department of Natural Resources.

That’s half the good news. In Maryland’s southern part of the bay, watermen not only found plenty of healthy oysters this season, they’re finding baby oysters that attach to older shells.

“There’s a lot of young oysters from last year’s set and hopefully the disease doesn’t affect them and they grow up and we’ll have some oysters in a couple of years,” said waterman John Orme.

But if oysters in the southern part of the bay are showing promise, it’s a different story in the north.

After tropical weather flooded the bay with fresh water at the end of last summer, some oyster bars were wiped out.

And where there were only empty shells, there was no catch.

“Most everybody didn’t have a choice. They couldn’t make a living up here, so they went down the bay,” said Orme.

“We’re very excited about what we’re seeing with oysters in the bay right now,” said Naylor.

The current survival rate is more than double what it was 10 years ago, when disease killed 58 percent of the bay’s oysters.

Comments (6)
  1. meeeeee says:

    So a major kill-off of oysters due to hurricanes did nothing to the survival rate of oysters… The state is playing games with numbers to confuse us. Which one is it, a major kill-off or a major boom in population? The kill off was enough to have some watermen to close shop yet their doing better? Someone is BSing the public.

  2. RAM1 says:

    The A-holes that run this bay don’t now what they are doing. Like meeeeeee said first it was a major blow to the oysters when the storm hit this summer and now it’s not. Go back to school and learn how to do you job!!!!

  3. meeeeee says:

    This is the best/worse year ever, it’s global warming and cooling at the same time.

  4. chicken necker says:

    I wish they would also report the rampant poaching that is happening.

  5. biologygal says:

    Read the story folks: the oyster population overall, despite the die off in the northern sector of the Bay, is higher than it was 10 years ago. To get population numbers, biologists have to average together the numbers from different sectors of the Bay. The other bit of good news is that our native oysters are starting to rebound despite the diseases that devastated them in the past. MSX and Dermo are awful diseases, and I am glad that some of our oysters are showing resistance.

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