The Future of Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay
Regarding the Feb. 15 Metro article "Oyster Decision Could Alter Bay":
There is no doubt that if they are released, either in aquaculture settings or baywide, the nonnative Asian oysters will establish themselves in the Chesapeake Bay.
First, there have already been 10 documented incidents of nonnative oysters from the pilot studies and other research projects getting out of the confines of the projects.
Second, the Chesapeake Bay ad hoc technical committee reported that the "sterile" Asian oysters proposed for introduction will not remain sterile and will reproduce in the bay.
In addition, scientists from the Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Chesapeake Bay Program's scientific technical advisory committee and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, as well as independent research scientists who reviewed the draft environmental impact statement, recommended native oysters as the alternative.
These entities also agree that native oyster restoration will succeed given the right implementation plans, enough time and careful management.
The health of the largest estuary in the United States is in our hands. Let's protect it.
Chesapeake Bay Field Office
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service