States, Army Corps Say No to Asian Oysters

Non-native oysters will not be introduced to the Chesapeake Bay, state officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced yesterday. For the past five years, state officials in Virginia and Maryland, along with the Corps of Engineers, have conducted a $17 million study on the feasibility of introducing the Crassostrea ariakensis species to the Bay to rebuild the oyster population. An article in today’s Washington Post quoted Roger Mann, a professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, who discussed the implications of introducing the non-native species. “The problem is, with all of this, that you don’t really know until you do the experiment. Once you’ve done it, it’s too late.”

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) applauded the decision in a news release issued yesterday. “This decision supports native oyster restoration and says no to further testing of Asian oysters unless it is conducted with no risk to the Bay,” said Roy Hoagland, CBF Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration. “Governors O’Malley (MD) and Kaine (VA) and Col. Anninos (Army Corps) have correctly recognized the dangers that non-native oysters pose as well as the enormous potential for restoration of the native population.” Read More >