This week, residents of the Chesapeake Bay celebrate the start of the wild oyster season, which continues through March 31, 2018. Commercial watermen using power dredges and patent tongs can harvest as many as 30 bushels per day per boat. However, the opening month is reserved for watermen who scuba dive or use shaft or patent tongs.
Water temperatures during October can range between the low 60s to 70s, but they quickly drop into the 50s by the time November rolls around. These chilly temperatures mean oyster divers must use specialized gear, including wetsuits that circulate warm water around them from the boat above.
This video by the Congressional Seafood Company shows the methods professionals use to harvest oysters and how the briny shellfish make it to restaurants around the country:
This fishing guide lists the regulations for harvesting oysters from the state of Maryland in case you feel like bringing home a bushel of oysters of your own.