ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A professor who devised a new model that can estimate the number of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay says the body of water’s market-sized oyster population is around half the amount found in 1999.

The Capital reports Mike Wilberg of the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science presented his report to Maryland’s Oyster Advisory Commission on Monday and estimated the population at 300 million.

He did say there hasn’t been a major mortality event since 2005, and some areas have seen population increases.

A peer review of the model he’s spent the last 18 months working on called it sound.

Shellfish Division Director Christopher Judy says the state will begin the public process of revising their oyster management plan after Wilberg sends a report to the state legislature Dec. 1.

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