‘Oyster wars:’ Watermen aim to take back oyster bars as state panel reviews shellfish sanctuaries

bal-oyster-restoration-bs0039914983-20160719Shells carrying millions of lab-grown baby oysters tumbled down the sides of a green-hulled boat named Robert Lee, and the $35,000 investment sunk into the Choptank River where it widens to meet the Chesapeake. The oysters, planted this past week, will grow there for two or three years before watermen scoop them back up and restaurants serve them fried or on ice. Nearby, other oyster reefs are restocked in the same manner but are off-limits to harvesting. These sanctuaries across bay tributaries help the shellfish recover from decades of disease outbreaks, and overfishing before that, and have been expanded in recent years to cover nearly a quarter of the bay’s 36,000 acres of oyster bars. Watermen could soon reclaim some of that territory. Read the rest here 12:01