By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — There’s a baby boom in Maryland. A billion baby oysters, called spat, have been planted at the Harris Creek Sanctuary.

Pat Warren has more on the state’s record production.

The O’Malley Administration says this is the first time in the country any hatchery has seen this kind of production in a single season.

You don’t get to an oyster bar without first carefully attending to these–Maryland’s native oyster bars, which have decreased 70 percent since 1994.

The state’s oyster restoration plan is on track to bring those bars back.

“We produced and planted more than, and this is a measurable result, 1.2 billion oysters this year. Over 750 million of them in the Harris Creek Sanctuary,” the governor said.

State, federal and non-government partners get credit for this particular baby boom.

A key ingredient in the overall plan to restore the oyster population, create new jobs and stimulate the economy.

“We watched as oysters declined from where they were even 10 years ago, 20 years ago. And now what we see is they’re becoming more resistant to disease. Our hatchery has become much more productive,” Gov. O’Malley said.

And in restoring oyster reefs, the increasing numbers do a great job of filtering water and removing pollutants from the bay.

Researchers will continue to work with other organizations to increase production.

About $2.7 million in loans have been approved for aquaculture projects in 10 counties.

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