Waterman Want Action Rather Than More Studies

Watermen from Rock Hall to Chincoteague, Va. met last week on a proposal by Maryland and Virginia to introduce Asian oysters into the Chesapeake Bay. Watermen say they are tired of expensive studies and want action taken immediately. The last study cost $17.5-million.

The proposal the watermen want could mean cross-breeding between native and non-native oysters with competition between the two types of oysters, though they also could co-exist without problems, according to the study. Watermen from both states were against a temporary harvest moratorium and expanded aquaculture of native oysters, components of the three alternatives. One drawback for the Asian oyster is a shorter shelf life for consumption on the half-shell. Mason said the non-native oysters begin to gape after being out of the water for three days, while native oysters stored correctly can survive twice as long.

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