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No Butt Shucking!


Crabs, clams and oysters share at least two things in common: they’re all shellfish and their succulent meat is guarded by seemingly bulletproof armor. Since machines don’t have the meticulous dexterity that human hands do, the seafood industry relies on skilled pros like Curtis “Fuzzy” Wilson to open the creatures up and extract the tastiness that lies inside.

In this video, Wilson demonstrates how to get into an oyster quickly without mangling the delicate meat inside. His advice is to insert the oyster knife only into the front of the oyster and never at the hinge, an amateur move he calls “butt shucking.”

Though most of the oysters Wilson shucks are wild, the practice of oyster farming is rapidly expanding on Chesapeake Bay. You can read about the practice by clicking here



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.


10 Billion Oysters

A single oyster can filter as much as 50 gallons of water a day, making the bivalve a critical puzzle piece in the effort to clean up Chesapeake Bay. Twenty groups, ranging from oyster farmers to research organizations, plan to boost the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster population to 10 billion by 2025, improving the Bay’s water quality in the process.


VIDEO: Crab Crisis: Chesapeake Crab Houses Facing Worker Shortage

Crab cakes, crab imperial and crab dip are just a few of the blue crab specialties you’ll find at seafood restaurants and on home menus around the Chesapeake Bay region. Those tasty dishes may be challenging to find this year — or cost you more money — because of a shortage of immigrant workers.

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Ships And Ladders

Watch as a Chesapeake Bay pilot makes a harrowing climb up the side of a bulk carrier ship near the Virginia Capes during a blow.


VIDEO: King Of The Reef

The Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission is considering opening a limited season via a lottery drawing that would allow 100 fisherman to harvest one goliath grouper per year.

Small Coast Guard icebreakers like the USCGC Chock perform a vital service in keeping icy waterways open all winter long.

VIDEO: Ice, Ice, Baby

The Mid-Atlantic region is locked in a deep-freeze, and the crew aboard the USCGC Chock is busy keeping mariners out of trouble on the icy Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. This video shows what a cold day’s work aboard the rugged little ship is like. WATCH


Battling Bycatch

A problem with commercial fishing is that many animals other than the target species often end up in nets — or tangled up in them. Known as bycatch, it’s an issue NOAA is working hard to solve. This video has more on the agency’s efforts.


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.