Grow-Your-Own Oysters

Although oysters in the Chesapeake Bay are all but wiped out, the struggling bivalves are showing up more often in wire cages tied to home docks. Amateur conservationists are signing on to the growing hobby of home aquaculture to bring oysters back to the Chesapeake. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation distributed thousands of wire cages over the last decade to people in Maryland and Virginia willing to grow oysters for nine months and return them for planting on sanctuary reefs on the Chesapeake‘s tributaries. The Chesapeake oyster is at an estimated one-percent or less of its historic bounty in the Bay, a victim of water pollution and sediment runoff from development. The nonprofit environmental group and its volunteers have put roughly 7-million oysters in sanctuaries since 1997.