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Record spat production aids Maryland's oyster restoration
CAMBRIDGE, MD (June 11, 2012) —The Horn Point Lab Oyster Hatchery is currently producing record numbers of baby oysters—or "spat"—to be used in Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration efforts. Join us for a Behind the Scenes Media Tour on Tuesday, June 19, from 10:00 am to noon to see how Maryland's restoration program--a partnership between the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the Oyster Recovery Partnership, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and others—is helping to bring healthy oyster populations back to the Chesapeake Bay.
Join restoration officials for a tour of the hatchery and the new spat "setting pier" to see how baby oysters ("spat") are grown and deployed into the Bay. The hatchery is located at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Horn Point Laboratory along the Choptank River in Cambridge, Maryland.
Hatchery Program Director Mutt Meritt will lead the tour, and Maryland restoration partners will be on hand to answer questions, including Oyster Recovery Partnership Executive Director Stephan Abel, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service Assistant Director Mike Naylor, and University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Don Boesch.
"We are excited to have reached such a high level of production of spat on shell early this season," said Hatchery Program Director Mutt Meritt. "We can continue to provide oysters for State restoration programs to help rebuild our historic oyster industry and bring back a healthy and productive Chesapeake Bay."
WHAT: Behind the Scenes Media Tour of Oyster Restoration Program and Hatchery
WHEN: Tuesday, June 19, 10:00 a.m.-noon (Refreshments served beginning at 10 a.m.)
WHO: Tour with Hatchery Program Director Mutt Meritt, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Stephan Abel, Executive Director, Oyster Recovery Partnership
Mike Naylor, Assistant Director, Fisheries Service, Shellfish Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Donald Boesch, President, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
The Chesapeake Bay oyster industry was the envy of the world until the oyster stock collapsed due to disease, habitat loss, declining water quality and historic over-harvesting. Oysters are a "keystone" species in the Chesapeake Bay. They not only filter and clean the water, but they also provide habitat for other important marine life such as blue crabs and striped bass. Oyster reefs are one of the most endangered habitats on the planet and critical to Chesapeake Bay recovery.
The largest oyster hatchery on the East Coast, the Horn Point Lab Oyster Hatchery produces a variety of disease-free oyster larvae for use in oyster research, oyster restoration, educational projects, and the private aquaculture industry. Over the past decade, spawning oysters at the hatchery have resulted in the deployment of more than two billion oyster spat to the waters of the Chesapeake Bay to aid in restoring the health of the Bay.
Founded in 1994, the Oyster Recovery Partnership has successfully joined together state and federal government agencies, scientists, watermen, and conservation organizations towards the common goal of oyster restoration and is Maryland's leading nonprofit actively restoring oysters into the Chesapeake Bay. Restoration efforts have produced and returned nearly four billion oysters into the Bay, resulting in the reestablishment of more than 70 oyster reefs on 1,500 acres of bottom. http://www.oysterrecovery.org
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science unleashes the power of science to transform the way society understands and manages the environment. By conducting cutting-edge research into today's most pressing environmental problems, we are developing new ideas to help guide our state, nation, and world toward a more environmentally sustainable future through five research centers—the Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg, the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons, the Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Baltimore, and the Maryland Sea Grant College in College Park. www.umces.edu
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