Leaders in the oyster industry see successful season

DELMARVA – It was a successful oyster season according to those in the industry.

“It’s not all this doom and gloom that we’ve always heard about in the past,” Jim Mullin, with the MD Oysterman’s Association, said.

“It went beyond good, this was the best harvest season we’ve had in 37 years, we are over 511,000 bushels, now we are approaching 600,000 bushels total,” Robert Newberry, with Delmarva Fisheries Association, said.

The season typically begins in October and goes into March, and luckily this year there were really no challenges with weather or diseases.

“It was just amazing to me that you were catching the same amount of oysters in the same amount of time the first day and the last day, so that means there’s a load of oysters out there,” Newberry said.

And, with all the hours put in and oysters caught it was a bonus for the economy. We are told that success trickled down to businesses.

“Usually, you saw the industry start to slow down after the Christmas and New Years’ holiday,” Newberry said. “It was wide open until the very last day, I mean these guys have really, the buyers have explored different markets because of the COVID over the past two years, and it’s gone crazy.”

“A lot of small businesses depend on the seafood industry from Cecil County all the way down to Ocean City and then around the Western Shore, Southern Maryland,” Mullin said.

While the season may be over, leaders are already looking ahead and feeling optimistic about next year.

“From what I saw out there this year what was left behind if they grow my God we are going to be at a million bushels next year,” Newberry said.

“If we dodge any type of natural catastrophe, so to speak, and disease, it really sets the bay up ecologically, and economically for the Bay for the next several years,” Mullin said.

We’re told that compared to last year the industry had around 337,000 bushels of oysters, and the year before that was about 125,000 bushels.

Newberry said a current problem the industry is struggling with is rising fuel prices. They started the oyster season with diesel fuel at $1.95 a gallon and now it’s up to $6 a gallon.

Categories: Delaware, Local News, Maryland