young oysters proliferate in Harris Creek, 2013

We’ve been noticing a lot of young oysters along the edges of Harris Creek. Most of them are about an inch long, and they’ve struck on rocks, old shell, pieces of trash and old bricks.

A super low tide last week gave us a good reason to walk the shoreline, and take a closer look at some of these new oysters. We’ve walked several portions of Harris Creek – on both the west and east sides, even far south near Tilghman Island. Young oysters are evident everywhere.

walking the shoreline at low tide

attached to rocks

oysters on brick

You might recall that in 2010, the state re-claimed all of Harris Creek as oyster sanctuary – and since then, have planted millions of young oysters as well as acres of shell for substrate for the young oysters to strike and grow upon. Here’s a link to some of that information.

You might also recall that in both 2010, and in 2011, the state reported record spatfalls – the rate at which young oysters “strike” – reproduce naturally, unlike the state seeding programs, in which spat-on-shell is “planted” on Bay bottom. We can assume that these young oysters are part of that natural spat set from recent years.

There are plenty of larger oysters too, harvest size. Of course Harris Creek is all sanctuary these days, so nobody will be harvesting these oysters. We admired a few, and tossed them back.

This is a very good sign for water quality  in Harris Creek.

harvest size oyster

~ by kbosin on February 18, 2013.

14 Responses to “young oysters proliferate in Harris Creek, 2013”

  1. Great too see the oysters making a comeback, the Chesapeake needs them !

  2. The population has grown so quickly so it must be a happy environment for them. Very good of you to throw them back too!

  3. Pretty cool… In the third photo (the pile of bricks and rubble), the light-colored spots on the rubble are all oyster spat. It looks like several hundred spat in just a square yard – impressive!

  4. And whenever it does come time to legitimately harvest them, I can see you with napkins tied around your necks out next to the water slurping away. I hope I get invited.
    I love seeing the pictures. And happy that the creek is being filtered.

    • By law, there is no harvesting of any kind in Harris Creek – the State has designated it oyster sanctuary.

      • Never Ever ever? Wow. Cool.

      • For now, and for the forseeable future, Harris Creek will remain all sanctuary, and off-limits to harvest. Presumably, the state will want to measure the success of their seeding and so we can assume it will remain sanctuary for some time to come. But the state could open Harris Creek for harvest at sometime in the future.

      • Is there such thing as overpopulation?

      • When the region was first seen by outside eyes, oysters were so thick in the Chesapeake that you could walk on reefs, they were gigantic. The water was clean, being filtered continually, and populations of all life forms in the bay were healthy, strong and balanced. Then we came blasting in….

  5. So what will the standard of the future be I wonder?

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