HOLLYWOOD, Md. (Jan. 21, 2016)—Local watermen have cause to be thankful, according to Tommy Zinn, president of the Calvert Watermen’s Association, since this season marks three years in a row of productive oyster harvesting.
“It may not be quite as good as it was last year,” Zinn told The County Times. “But I’d call it a fair to good season.”
Oysters in Maryland waters have made somewhat of a resurgence in the past several years with what appears to be a developing resistance to diseases like MSX and dermo that have decimated the populations of the native oyster for the past several decades.
However, warmer waters during the fall at the beginning of the season meant that oysters were only now reaching their best size when waters were turning cold.
Still death rates of oysters that Zinn and other watermen have observed in Southern Maryland have been low.
“Either the diseases are not has bad as they have been or they [the oysters] are developing a resistance to them,” he said. “We’re not seeing as many dead oysters at all.
“They seem to be holding their own.”
The state’s Department of Natural Resources also recently opened 10 oyster harvest reserve areas; they were essentially meant to allow limited harvesting on a rotating basis after being seeded.
Zinn said that most of those zones being opened helped watermen on the Eastern Shore and other areas than the Patuxent River region but they still amounted to a “shot in the arm.”