Oyster farming has grown rapidly in Maryland in recent years — too rapidly, in the eyes of some. Last week, spurred by complaints from waterfront homeowners and others, local elected officials in St. Mary’s County moved to put the brakes on the burgeoning industry along their shoreline.
The Southern Maryland county’s board of commissioners voted on July 31 to hold a public hearing on Aug. 28 on a proposed 18-month moratorium on the use of commercial docks to land oysters from any newly issued aquaculture leases in local waters.
Randy Guy, president of the five-member board of commissioners, said they want to “slow down” what he called a proliferation of oyster farming operations in St. Mary’s. The county has no direct role in the approval of state-issued aquaculture leases, so they’re looking to change that by asserting local zoning control over the use of docks and marinas that support the shellfish enterprises.[Continue Reading]