Home > Mass Animal Deaths > ‘A Very Serious Situation’: Oyster Growers Seeing Massive Die-Offs In Chesapeake Bay, Nearly 100% Mortality Rate In Areas

‘A Very Serious Situation’: Oyster Growers Seeing Massive Die-Offs In Chesapeake Bay, Nearly 100% Mortality Rate In Areas


Associated Press – “ANNAPOLIS, Md. — As oyster growers prepare to harvest their maturing spat in the coming weeks, things are not looking good.

An unusually rainy fall lowered salinity levels in Pasadena creeks and rivers, apparently causing massive die-offs among young oysters planted as part of the state’s efforts to reinvigorate the oyster population of the Chesapeake Bay. In some areas all the spat planted were wiped out.

‘It’s a very serious situation,’ said Chris Judy, manager of the Marylanders Grow Oysters program. ‘We don’t want to see our oysters die. In in the four-year history of the program, this is the first time we’ve had such an event, so it was very unusual.’

Spat, larva that settles and begins to develop a shell, need water with a certain salinity — typically at least four parts-per-thousand. Heavy rains in late August and September made the water too fresh for many spat to survive.

Under the program, the Department of Natural Resources in September gave participants spat and cages to hang from their piers, in which larval oysters were supposed to grow. The plan was to recover the oysters next month and place them on reefs, where they would filter local waterways.

But things didn’t go as planned.

Growers in Rock Creek experienced what appears to be a nearly 100 percent mortality rate, coordinator Chris Wallis said. All of the oysters in Stoney Creek died, said Mario Ricci, the program coordinator for that area.

In the Magothy River, growers are seeing 90 percent mortality rates or worse, volunteer coordinator Carl Treff said. Exact numbers for Bodkin Creek aren’t available yet, but cages have produced very few spat.

Mortality rates for the program typically range between 30 percent and 40 percent.” Read more.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths
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