BALTIMORE (AP) — Representatives of Maryland’s oyster industry say they fear that heavier rains could hurt this year’s harvest.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the rain makes water in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries less salty. Salt is essential to make oysters thrive.

Jim Mullin is president of the Maryland Oystermen’s Association. He says that he has concerns about how the rain is going to affect the oyster population.

Tal Petty is the owner of Hollywood Oyster Co. in St. Mary’s County. He says that his oysters didn’t have their normal spring growth spurt this year and he believes that’s because there wasn’t enough salt. He says he hasn’t experienced that in two decades in the business.

Much of the state has had 60 inches (152 cm) of precipitation so far this year, which is higher than normal.

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