Baywide

MSX and Dermo:

Monitor the prevalence and intensity of MSX and Dermo; develop a process for certifying seed oysters as free of MSX and Dermo; minimize the possibility of spreading MSX and Dermo through transplantation of seed oysters, including through the repletion program; conduct targeted research; initiate pilot field programs to plant and test strains of the eastern oyster not native to the Bay.

Habitat/Water Quality:

Develop innovative programs for restoring physical habitat; use existing programs to emphasize the elimination of adverse water quality that affects oysters; redefine oyster sanctuaries.

Increase Production/Management:

Increase hatchery production of oyster larvae and seed oysters; maintain and adapt the current state repletion program; encourage innovative approaches by private industry to restore, culture, and produce oysters.

Institutional Barriers:

Establish a pilot permitting program for oyster aquaculture demonstration projects; establish an aquaculture permit clearinghouse service.

Research:

Institute a multiyear, targeted research program aimed at improving methods for detecting, preventing, and controlling MSX and Dermo.

Oyster Recovery Areas

Designate ORAs in which efforts would be concentrated to:

  • Carry out and evaluate different methods to rehabilitate, rebuild, plant, and otherwise restore oyster populations.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the “quarantine” concept, whereby transplantation activities which might serve to perpetuate MSX and Dermo are limited.

Each ORA would have from one to three zones with different combinations of allowed harvesting, importation of natural and hatchery seed oysters, and restoration projects.

The Chester, Choptank, Magothy, Nanticoke, Patuxent, and Severn Rivers are designated as initial river systems to include ORAs; others will be designated as appropriate.

Other Actions

Continue the Oyster Roundtable to monitor progress and coordinate efforts.

Establish and Education Workgroup to develop a broadly based public education program which would inform the public about the ecological benefits of oysters and the economic benefits derived from harvesting in the public and private oyster fisheries.

The Roundtable members commit to a sustained, cooperative effort to ensure that the recommendations are implemented.

— Source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources