Time was when there were so many oysters in the Potomac River that Virginians and Marylanders were shooting at each other for the right to harvest them.
But there hasn't been much worth fighting for in the Potomac for decades. the river accounts for just 10 percent of the entire Chesapeake's harvest, and it's the Bay's second largest tributary, after the Susquehanna, which is too far north and too fresh to harbor oysters. The Potomac River Fisheries Commission, which governs the river, watched as Virginia turned its oyster aquaculture industry into a multi-million-dollar business and Maryland began doing the same.
Recently, the organization kicked in $150,000 to plant sterile, triploid oysters in the Potomac. Watermen are participating in the plantings, and the hope is that the new oysters will help stimulate growth of natural spat.
Catch a radio report of the program here.
The Potomac project is one of many around the Chesapeake to restore oysters. You can read our recent report about the work in Harris Creek here.