Bay Journal

Topics: Fisheries

Can bacteria help restore the Chesapeake Bay’s oysters?

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Ryan Hoover teaches sculpture making at the Maryland Institute College of Art. So, why is he developing a product that could help oysters grow in the Chesapeake Bay?

“That’s a fine question,” he said, laughing.

The answer is that he prefers to make art that has a function. In this case, he’s using new technology to build better artificial reefs for oysters — with an assist from nature itself.

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About Fisheries

Acre for acre, the Chesapeake Bay is one of the most productive water bodies on the planet when it comes to fish. Populations of the native striped bass and nonnative blue catfish have risen dramatically in recent decades, while blue crabs appear to be on the road to recovery.

Recent interest in aquaculture has sharply increased commercial production of oysters from the Chesapeake. Nonetheless, problems such as historic overfishing, habitat loss and disease have reduced the abundance of some iconic species such as wild oyster populations, American shad and river herring, American eels and Atlantic sturgeon to near record-low levels. In the headwaters, brook trout have suffered major habitat losses.

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