Section of restored oyster reef in Harris Creek, Maryland.
Harris Creek Section of restored oyster reef in Harris Creek, Maryland. © Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

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Statement on 2019 Maryland Oyster Legislation

The following is a statement from Mark Bryer, TNC's Chesapeake Bay Program director, on the passage of 2019 Maryland oyster legislation.

"Thanks to the hard work of Maryland legislators, this legislative session has plotted a path towards a more sustainable future for oysters and the Chesapeake Bay. 

In protecting oysters we also protect all of the benefits we get from them, including water filtration, erosion and wave reduction, and habitat for many other important species like blue crabs and rock fish.  It’s imperative that we recognize oysters must be effectively managed for those multiple benefits as well.

These two bills support the use of science and consensus to ensure that the success we’ve seen in the Harris Creek oyster sanctuary can be repeated in all four of the other tributaries Maryland has committed to restoring, and that our wild fishery is well managed. 

Recent studies examining oyster reef contributions to water filtration and marine-life habitat are providing concrete data that the benefits oyster sanctuaries provide are real and significant.  We also hope the process created through the Oyster Futures bill will provide watermen with more ownership over harvest strategy in the wild fisheries areas.

The Nature Conservancy has invested in oyster restoration work all over the world, from here in the Chesapeake and along the Atlantic Coast, to the Gulf of Mexico and the West Coast, and as far away as Australia and Germany.

Through these efforts we are continually learning from each other and our numerous partners about how we can better restore this critical animal and its habitat, and help all of those who depend on it.”

This legislative session has plotted a path towards a more sustainable future for oysters and the Chesapeake Bay.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.