Oyster Industry sees 37 year high as watermen call for Man O’War Shoal dredging to move forward

HOOPER’S ISLAND, Md- The Maryland oystery industry is set to have one of its best years on record. With one month left in Oyster season, Delmarva Fisheries Association Chairman Capt. Robert Newberry says 400,000 bushels of oysters have already been captured this year, representing a 300% increase in yield over a three-year period. 

“This year as far as the oyster season goes, it’s the best year we have had in 37 years,” Newberry said.   Newberry says he wants to capitalize on the momentum of this year and invest in making sure the oyster population can be replenished for years to come. He says that process depends on dredging being approved at the Man O’War shoal in the Chesapeake Bay. 

“It’s going to give us the shells we need now because we don’t have enough shell to go around now  we have to rely on buying it back from Virginia at 5 dollars a bushel which is crazy when we have 150 million bushels sitting right now at Man O’War Shoal,” Newberry said. 

New Berry says a meeting will be held march first by his organization to discuss smaller-scale local dredging efforts that can be undertaken to help watermen this season, but says the Man O’War dredging needs to be approved.

“It’s been approved by every environmental regulatory we have it sitting waiting at the Public Works Department and we hear that they are also looking at other sites and that’s a waste of time we need these sites,” Newberry said.