St. Mary’s City, MD – February 6, 2020 – Maryland is underway with a large-scale restoration of oysters in the St. Mary’s River shellfish sanctuary. The state hatchery at Horn Point will breed St. Mary’s River oysters and return tens of millions of spat back to our river over the next two years. To grow these spat, they need approximately 10 bushels of brood stock from our river. This Saturday February 8th the state will be dredging oysters at three locations depicted by the red polygons in the lower half of the map shown here. These areas are southeast and west of Pagan Point and between Church Point and the college pier. We will join DNR scientists on this mission aboard the work vessel. Oysters will be offloaded at the college pier.
The sites targeted for this harvest are sites that will receive 12 inches of substrate (stone or shells) prior to planting spat. Therefore this harvest is necessary to save the existing oysters from being buried. The state will return in 2021 to replant these same areas with spat in order to have multi-age class oysters remaining on each bar. Oysters reproduce best when multi-age animals are present in the same area.