Thank you very much for your participation in the Marylanders Grow Oysters Program (MGO) for the 2023-2024 growing season.

We will be sending you regular reminder letters regarding the maintenance of your cages. Initially, we will be sending you weekly letters (like today’s letter) or reminder cards (see enclosed). As the cold weather progresses and cage fouling issues subside, our maintenance letters will become infrequent. As the weather warms in the Spring, we will ultimately return to weekly maintenance letters and cards.

Because the cages are suspended from your dock, it is easy for them to become “out-of-sight,
Out-of-mind”. Routine and simple maintenance of your cages will help to prevent/control fouling, which will allow the oysters to grow more quickly and the cages from becoming too heavy.

When we delivered your oysters, we instructed our volunteers to suspend the cages six inches above the bottom of your creek or riverbed. At mean low tide, please adjust your cages so that the top of the cage is about six inches below the surface of the water. At this level, there is more food and oxygen for the oysters, which will help to promote their growth.

CRITICAL:

  1. Make sure that your cages NEVER rest on the creek or river bottom. If they do, the oysters can quickly become covered with mud and will smother and die.
  2. In the early stages of spat development, NEVER use a hose or power washer to clean the cages. The pressure of the hose, or power washer can kill the spat.

THIS WEEK’S MAINTENANCE:

On Sunday when I checked my oysters, there was a fair amount of growth or “fouling” on my cages. Here’s what you should do for maintenance this week:

  1. Actively dunk your cages up and down in the water – like steeping a tea bag – to remove the silt and sediment from the oyster shells and “spat” so that they don’t smother and die.
  2. Give your cages a quick shake to keep the oysters from growing together.
  3. Leave the cages on your dock for about an hour so any growth that has occurred on the cages will dry out and die.
  4. Set a timer so that you don’t forget to put your oysters back in the water!
  5. Make sure that the oysters are evenly distributed on the bottom of the cage and put them back in the water.

That’s it for this week. Please call Suzanne Anderson at 410-822-9143 if you have any problems with the maintenance of your cages. Talk to you next week!

Sincerely,

Scott W. Eglseder, Founder
The Chesapeake Bay “Advance and Protect” Oyster Reef Recovery Initiative

P.S. If you are a new grower and did not receive your cages or if you are an existing grower and did not receive your oysters, please call Suzanne as soon as possible. Thanks!