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10 Billion Oysters

An Oyster Recovery Partnership vessel distributes spat-on-shell oysters on Chesapeake Bay. 

An Oyster Recovery Partnership vessel distributes spat-on-shell oysters on Chesapeake Bay. 

Capable of filtering as much as 50 gallons of water a day, oysters are water quality super heroes. Back in the 1600s, oysters filtered all of the Chesapeake Bay’s waters in only a week. Today scientists say it takes as long as a year.

Battered by disease and overfishing, Bay oyster populations currently lie at 1 percent of historic levels, which significantly affects water quality. Knowing the importance of these filter feeders, oyster farmers, universities and environmental organizations are hoping to boost the Bay’s oyster population to 10 billion by 2025, helping to boost the watershed's health in the process.

This video from WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland, has more on the effort.

You can read more about oyster farming and its impact on Bay water quality by reading this feature, which originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Soundings magazine.



Oyster Ranchers

A single oyster can filter 50 gallons of water in a day, making the tasty bivalves a critical link in improving water quality in Chesapeake Bay.


Billions and Billions

A partnership among environmental and conservation organizations, state governments, oyster farmers and educational groups is aiming to increase the oyster population in Chesapeake Bay to 10 billion by 2025.


Virginia Oyster Habitat Declared Restored

Oysters are a keystone species in the restoration of polluted waterways since each bivalve filters much as 50 gallons of water per day. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation recently declared an eight-year-long Virginia oyster restoration project complete.


Thank Goodness For Oysters

It’s primetime for oyster season around much of the country. Soundings’ senior editor and resident oyster aficionado, Gary Reich, shares how to enjoy oysters before your Thanksgiving feast, or anytime during the winter.


No Butt Shucking!

Curtis “Fuzzy” Wilson knows a thing or two about oysters — he’s been shucking them professionally for 35 years. The Virginia native spends the Chesapeake Bay oyster season shucking several bushels of the stubborn bivalves each day, reminding rookies to never open an oyster up from the rear, a shucking faux pas known as “butt shucking.”


VIDEO: Working The Water

If you’re a regular reader of Soundings, chances are you’ve seen Chesapeake Bay photographer Jay Fleming’s work. Always willing to go to the extreme to get the best shots, Fleming uses scuba gear, kayaks and a custom fiberglass skiff to get as close as possible to his subjects.


Head: VIDEO: The Home Stretch

Launched on Oct. 5, 1889 at Tilghman Island, Maryland, the bugeye Edna E. Lockwood is undergoing a complete restoration at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland. Among the work completed to date was the total removal and replacement of her nine-log bottom. This video has an update about the wrap-up work being done before Edna is relaunched later this year.


Navigating By Octant

Plenty of folks who are familiar with celestial navigation know what a sextant is, but have you ever heard of an octant? In this video, chief curator Pete Lesher of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St, Michaels, Maryland, talks about 18th- and 19th-century navigational instruments and the stories of the people who owned them.