6-27-11: Aquaculture in Maryland
Every state in America that has an oyster industry primarily uses aquaculture, or oyster farming, to raise its stocks. Every state, that is, except for Maryland.
Oyster farming took so long to get off the ground because of the way our General Assembly was apportioned until the 1960s – the old way gave the tidewater counties a lot of power, and lawmakers from them consistently resisted leasing parts of the Chesapeake Bay for oyster farming efforts.
Aquaculture took center stage last year, when the Department of Natural Resources opened up hundreds of thousands of acres of the Bay to oyster farming. But the effort have stalled since then – with the DNR only approving one of the 26 applications for new oyster farms.
To find out what’s caused the delays, and for a look at aquaculture’s future in our state we talk with Karl Roscher. He currently serves as the Aquaculture Coordinator at the Department of Agriculture but that program is moving from the MDA to the DNR at the end of the week – and taking him with it.