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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fellow TF’r and Chesapeake legend J. P. Williams invited me to talk business yesterday afternoon, which I soon learned meant lifting 40-lb oyster-spat cages from the Severn, going to another location in a creek to pull up even heavier cages full of 1-year-old oysters, prying the razor sharp buggers from their cement-like grip to the cages (they did not go willingly), replacing them with the oyster spat-on-shell, and then taking the 1-year-olds to a reef in the main River.

Sounds like fun, right? Well, actually, it was! Not to mention highly satisfying and educational. The 1-year-olds look great. They are huge…I can’t believe how large they have grown in one year. The Severn sure knows how to grow some fine oysters.

Neater still, these 2.5 x 1 suspended cages contained an amazing diversity of life. As we lifted them out of the water, out came bream, blennies, gobies, sheepshead minnows, eels, mud crabs, and a host of worm-like invertebrates (one looked almost like a bloodworm…about 4-inches, reddish, little legs and what looked like a nasty pair of pinchers). I know that oyster reefs can be diverse, but was pleasantly surprised that even these little cages had developed such a diverse community after only one year in a creek that contains a known dead zone.

Somehow, if given a chance, nature will find a way to thrive even in a severely impaired waterway like our Severn. Here’s to many future enhanced fishing opportunities in the Severn and elsewhere where CBF and others are slowly but surely re-establishing oyster reefs.
 

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Wow

Thanks Goose.
It's really nice to hear a positive report regarding oysters.
Their future has looked grim for a long time but reports like this leave me "cautiously optimisic".

Gregg
 

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Glad JP got you out doing an honest days work for a change :D

Great news that the oysters are growing so well - especially with all the nasty water and low oxy levels we see during the summer. If we can get enough oyster bars established, it should really make a positive impact on the river's quality.

Really cool to hear about all the different life forms you found on the cages - that's stuff we never see while dragging baits through the water.
 

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Cheers Jeff... sure sounds like a good day!!! If this is going to be a continual thing, just let me know if you ever need an extra hand. I would be happy to help out if I can.
 

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Jeff - If you guys ever need a HO for a project like that, please keep me in mind. I would love to help. ...Don
 

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Goose - Sounds very encouraging. From what I understand, oysters in cages are more resistant to MSX and dermo than oysters setting on the bottom. Wonder if this is true.

Also, any one know if some of the long shallow points in Round Bay, like Long Point and Eaglesnest Point, would be good spots to dump adult oysters? or do they need something deeper?

And last, I know they can't be harvested in the Severn, but would oysters grown in Round Bay pretty much always be too contaminated for human consumption?
 

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The state tells us not to swim/waterski/etc in the Severn for two days after a good rain storm due to pollution (septic) run off.

I'd be careful eating Oysters from there.

Hey Goose - you guys lose my number :D - you know I would have dove right in to help :pp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Goose - Sounds very encouraging. From what I understand, oysters in cages are more resistant to MSX and dermo than oysters setting on the bottom. Wonder if this is true.

Also, any one know if some of the long shallow points in Round Bay, like Long Point and Eaglesnest Point, would be good spots to dump adult oysters? or do they need something deeper?

And last, I know they can't be harvested in the Severn, but would oysters grown in Round Bay pretty much always be too contaminated for human consumption?
The oysters placed on the CBF and other reefs in the Severn are doing very well, too, and growing like they're on steroids. They have almost no disease issues. Of course, the trick is placing down rubble so that the spat are planted out of the silt.

I think that the points that you note would be excellent spots for new reefs because they are, in fact, historical reef sites, but JPW and others are the experts, here. I am doing my very small part trying to focus our local government leaders on restoring all of these Severn reefs in an effort to improve water quality.

CBF recently completed a 3-acre reef off of Aisquith Point. It now has 4 million oyster spat.:thumbup: I cost $150,000. The numbers I've heard so far are that the Severn would need 70-95 more acres of reef to create the dramatic water cleaning effect of the zebra mussels in '04-'05. That would cost about $4-$6 MM....a drop in the bucket compared with the hundreds of millions or billions needed for other sollutions. In my humble opinion, a real effort to protect and restore oysters is the Bay's best hope and, by far, the most cost-effective approach.

My thanks go out to JPW, CBF, folks at MARI and others who opened my eyes to this over the past year.
 

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CBF recently completed a 3-acre reef off of Aisquith Point. It now has 4 million oyster spat.:thumbup: I cost $150,000. The numbers I've heard so far are that the Severn would need 70-95 more acres of reef to create the dramatic water cleaning effect of the zebra mussels in '04-'05. That would cost about $4-$6 MM....a drop in the bucket compared with the hundreds of millions or billions needed for other sollutions. In my humble opinion, a real effort to protect and restore oysters is the Bay's best hope and, by far, the most cost-effective approach.
Lets hope that reef projects like this continue to be installed in our tributaries.
It is cheaper and more beneficial than many of the alternatives we have seen so far! :thumbup:

When the benefits of oyster reefs on water quality are so compelling, why do we still continue to harvest them?
 

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When the benefits of oyster reefs on water quality are so compelling, why do we still continue to harvest them?
Because some people are more interested in their bank accounts than they are about anything else. Some other people will do anything to stay in elected office. Everyone else suffers.
 
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