Oyster Advisory Commission Reviews Draft Management Proposal

February 15, 2017

Compilation Based on Feedback from Conservationists and Watermen

The Oyster Advisory Commission received a draft proposal for revising the state’s current oyster management areas. The proposal was based on deliberations at past commission meetings and includes stakeholder comments and recommendations from the commercial seafood industry, conservationists, environmentalists and watermen.

The draft comes after the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reconstituted the commission and completed work on a five-year oyster assessment.

“Following the release of the five-year report, we thought it important for the advisory panel to re-examine the state’s oyster management plan with the ultimate goal being: ‘More oysters in the Chesapeake Bay,’” said Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton. “The draft proposal, which includes recommendations from riverkeepers and watermen, seeks to aid the commission’s ongoing deliberations and discussions.”

The draft proposal includes:

  • Establishment of rotational harvest areas
  • Creation of new oyster sanctuaries
  • Expansion of oyster sanctuaries and public fishery areas
  • Recommendation for state restoration funding for sanctuaries
  • Information on the selection of the fourth and fifth tributaries for large-scale restoration

“The proposal now before the commission focuses on oysters’ ecological and economic value,” Belton said. “The comprehensive proposal was compiled for and by the commission.”

The Oyster Advisory Commission will now review the compiled proposal as it discusses oyster management policies and practices. The commission is legislatively charged with advising the department on oyster management decisions. It is comprised of community, private and public stakeholders, including academics, environmentalists, legislators, scientists and watermen.