It’s no secret that we at the Oyster Reef Recovery Initiative are extremely passionate about helping to build a thriving oyster population, and fortunately there are also tons of people out there that share our passion. For those of you that are interested in helping to heal the Chesapeake Bay by growing oysters on your own, here are some details that will help you get started…
How does it work?
- Oyster gardening is the practice of growing oysters using a cage, either floating or suspended, to raise oysters at your pier
- The cage protects young oysters from predators such as blue crabs and cow nose rays
How long does it take to grow oysters?
- Oysters grow approximately 2” in length during each growing season
- Oysters can be transplanted onto reef sites after just one growing season
- Oysters can live for up to 10 years
What is the survival rate of an oyster?
- In the wild~ 80-90% of oyster spat will not make it to market size – most will die
- In an oyster garden~ 80-90% will live to mature market size
What does it typically cost to get started?
- Zero! The state provides FREE oyster cages and FREE oyster spat- on-shell.
What do I need to get started?
An existing pier or wharf with at least 48″ of water at low tide located in a tributary selected for the program (includes creeks, coves and inlets in that tributary).
- Selected rivers include- Magothy, Corsica, Severn, Chester, South Wye, Patuxent, Miles, Wicomico, Tred Avon, St. Mary’s, Nanticoke
- Selected creeks include- Swan, Cox, Harris, La Trappe, Dan Domingo, Bodkin
The Oyster Reef Recovery Initiative