Chesapeake Executive Council
                    Chesapeake Bay
           Oyster Management Plan
                      U.S. Environmental Protectioi A0e«i
                      Region III Information Resource
                      Center (3PM52)
                      841 Chestnut Street
                      Philadelphia, PA 191W
                Agreement Commitment Report
.C54  	;	

"III                            July 1989

Chesapeake Bay Oyster Management Plan
          An Agreement Commitment Report from
            the Chesapeake Executive Council
                                       U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                                       Region III Information Resource
                                       Center (3PM52)
                                       841 Chestnut Street
                                       Philadelphia, PA  19107
                  Annapolis, Maryland
                      July 1989

                           ADOPTION STATEMENT

      We, the undersigned, adopt the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Management Plan, in fulfillment
of Living Resources Commitment Number 4 of the 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement:

      "...by July 1989, to develop, adopt, and begin to implement Bay-wide
      management plans for oysters, blue crabs, and American shad."

      We agree to accept the Plan as a guide to protecting, restoring, and enhancing the oyster
resource for long-term ecological and economic benefits.  We further agree to work together to
implement, by the dates set forth in the Plan, the management actions recommended to address:
(1) harvest decline and overharvesting; (2) recruitment; (3) disease mortality; (4) low production
from leased ground; (5) habitat degradation; (6) shellfish sanitation problems; (7) market stability;
and (8) repletion efforts.

      We recognize the need to commit long-term, stable financial support and human resources
to the task of protecting, restoring, and enhancing the oyster fishery.  In addition, we direct the
Living Resources Subcommittee to review and update the Plan yearly and to prepare an annual
report addressing the progress made in achieving the Plan's management recommendations.
For the Commonwealth of Virginia

For the State of Maryland
For the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
For the United States of America
For the District of Columbia
For the Chesapeake Bay Commission

                        TABLE OF CONTENTS



     American Oyster - Introduction	   1
     FMP Status and Management Unit	   1
     Fishery Parameters	   1
     Biological Parameters	   2
     Habitat Requirements	   2
     Habitat Issues	   2
     The Fisheries	   3
     Economic Perspective	   3
     Resource Status	   6
     Laws and Regulations	   7
     Status of Traditional Fishery Management Approaches	  11
     Data and Information Needs	  12
     References	  12
     A. Goals and Objectives	  15
     B. Problem Areas and Management Strategies	  16
          1. Harvest Decline and Overharvesting	  16
          2. Recruitment	  18
          3. Disease Mortality	  19
          4. Leased Ground Production	  20
          5. Habitat Issues	  22
          6. Shellfish Sanitation	  23
          7 . Market Production	  25
          8 . Repletion Program	  26

1. Maryland Commercial Landings for Oysters from the
   Chesapeake Bay	   4
2. Virginia Commercial Landings for Oysters from the
   Chesapeake Bay	   5
   Preparation of this document was funded in part by the Coastal
   Resources   Division,   Tidewater   Administration,   Maryland
   Department  of  Natural Resources,  through a  grant  from the
   Office of  Ocean and Coastal Resources  Management,  National
   Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


     Development of this management plan is the result of concerted
efforts by  members  of  the  Fisheries  Management  Plan  Workgroup
(FMPW),  particularly by providing direction  for and review of the
plan.   Staff from  the  Maryland Department  of Natural  Resources
(DNR), Tidewater Administration, and the Virginia Marine Resources
Commission (VRMC) authored the plan and addressed comments on the
draft versions.  Contributing  DNR staff  included Nancy Butowski,
Harry T. Hornick,  Phil  Jones,  Randy Schneider and Harley Speir.
Mark  Bundy  provided assistance  with economic  aspects  of  the
fishery.  VRMC  staff included Erik Earth, Lewis  Gillingham,  Roy
Insley,  Robert  O'Reilly,   Randy Owens,  Ellen  Smoller,   Jack
Travelstead,  and Lyle  Varnell.   Thanks  are  also due to  Verna
Harrison and Ed Christoffers  for guiding the plan through  the
development  and  adoption process.   Finally, we  are grateful to
members of  other committees and workgroups   associated with  the
Chesapeake Bay Program and the public who commented on the plan.

Members of the Fisheries Management Plan Workgroup are:

Dr. Erik Barth, Virginia Marine Resources Commission
Mr. K.A. Carpenter, Potomac River Fisheries Commission
Mr. James Collier,  D.C. Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs
Mr. William Goldsborough, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Mr. J. W. Gunther, Jr.,  Virginia Waterman
Mr. Robert Hesser, Pennsylvania Fish Commission
Dr. Edward Houde, UMCEES/Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
Mr. W. Pete Jensen, MD Department of Natural Resources
Mr. J. Claiborne Jones,   Chesapeake Bay Commission
Dr. Victor Kennedy, UMCEES/Horn Point Environmental Laboratory
Dr. Romauld N. Lipcius,  Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Dr. Robert Lippson, NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service
Dr. Joseph G. Loesch, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Dr. Charles F. Lovell, Jr., M.D., Virginia
Dr. Roger L. Mann, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Mr. Richard Novotny, Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen1s Assoc.
Mr. Ed O'Brien, MD Charter Boat Association
Mr. James W. Sheffield,  Atlantic Coast Conservation Assoc. of Va.
Mr. Larry Simns, MD Watermen's Association
Dr. William Van Heukelem, UMCEES/Horn Point Environmental Lab.
Ms. Mary Roe Walkup, Citizen's Advisory Committee

                        EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

     One of the  strategies for implementing the Living Resources
Commitments of the 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement is to develop and
adopt  a  series of  Bay-wide fishery management  plans  (FMPs) for
commercially,  recreationally,  and selected ecologically valuable
species.   The  FMPs are to  be  implemented  by the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania, State of Maryland, Commonwealth of Virginia, District
of Columbia,  and  Potomac River Fisheries Commission as appropriate.
Under this strategy,  a  timetable  was developed for completion of
fishery management plans for several important species.  Oysters,
blue crabs,  and  American shad were  given  highest priority, with
plans due for these species in July  1989.

     A comprehensive approach to managing Chesapeake Bay fisheries
is  needed because biological,  physical,   economic,  and  social
aspects of the fisheries are shared among the Bay's jurisdictions.
A Fisheries Management Plan Workgroup (FMPW), under the Chesapeake
Bay Program's Living Resources Subcommittee, was formed to address
the commitment in the Bay Agreement for Bay-wide management plans.
The  FMPW  is composed of members  from  government agencies, the
academic community, and public interest  groups from Pennsylvania,
Maryland, Virginia, and the District of  Columbia.

Development of Fishery Management Plans

     A fishery management  plan is a dynamic,  ongoing  process to
wisely use  a fishery resource.   Each  of  the  fishery  management
plans prepared under the 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement is a concise
summary of the fishery under  consideration, problems  and issues
that have arisen, and recommended management actions.

     The  process of  developing   a  management  plan  incorporates
public and scientific  evaluation,  and  appropriate  governmental
approvals.  After an FMP is adopted by  the  Executive Committee, an
implementation plan will be developed to  provide more  detail on
actions  that  participating  jurisdictions  will  take  and  the
mechanisms for taking these actions.   In  some cases,  regulatory
and legislative action will have  to  be initiated,  while in  still
others, additional funding will be required.  An annual review of
each FMP  will be conducted,  under  the auspices  of the  Living
Resources  Subcommittee,  to  incorporate new  information and  to
update management strategies.

Goal of the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Management Plan

     The goal of the Chesapeake  Bay  Oyster  Management Plan is to
increase the  baywide  stocks of oysters by  initiating short- and
long-term management actions,  in  order  to enhance the ecological
value of the resource and to help maintain a viable fishery.

Problem Areas and Management Strategies

Problem l:  Harvest Decline and Overharvesting.  The Chesapeake Bay
oyster  harvest  has  been  generally  unstable  and  declining,
culminating in all-time low harvests and dockside value during each
of  the  past  few  years.     Advances  in  gear  technology  have
contributed  to  the problem,  as  has  mortality  due to  oyster
diseases.  Many  traditionally productive  areas  have been lost or
diminished, resulting  in even more  concentrated  fishing effort.
The average catch  per man-day is lower than  the  permitted daily
limits, signalling that the limits are no longer  an effective means
of conserving the oyster resource.

Strategy 1:  Oyster harvest  from  public bars is  governed  by the
quantity and  distribution  of natural spat set,  and by subsequent
survival to  market  size.   To  increase  the  number  of oysters
reaching market size,  harvesting effort  needs to be stabilized and
monitored,   harvest levels  need  to  be set  commensurate  to the
resource status,  and broodstocks should be protected by closing and
opening harvesting areas as  needed.

Problem  2:  Recruitment.    The repletion progams  in  Maryland and
Virginia are  dependent largely on natural spatfall.   For the past
two decades, natural spat set has been erratic, generally low, and
of limited geographic range  compared  to historic figures.  Strong
reproductive  years have been hurt by  harvest pressure, poor water
quality and habitat conditions, and  oyster diseases.

Strategy  2:  Repletion   efforts   need to continue  but  will  be
evaluated  to increase  their  efficiency.    In  order  to augment
natural  reproduction,  plantings  of shell  for  cultch  should
continue, as should moving seed oysters to growing  areas.  Hatchery
production  for research and rehabilitation projects  need  to be
maintained and possibly  expanded,  and aquaculture efforts should
be supported.  Research needs to be conducted on reconstruction of
natural oyster bars and  on the relationship between  adult oyster
density and recruitment.

Problem  3:  Disease  Mortality.    Harvest  declines  have  been
compounded since 1986 due to extensive disease mortalities caused
by  MSX (Haplosporidium  nelsoni)  and Dermo  (Perkinsus marinus).
Little is known about how these diseases  are transmitted, and they
cannot be  controlled or eliminated.   Current management actions
rely on favorable natural conditions to combat these diseases, and
are primarily reactionary in nature.

Strategy 3:  Actions should  involve increased monitoring  of the
diseases so that timely  decisions can be made regarding seed and
shell plantings.  Additional research needs to be conducted on the
diseases and on disease-resistant oysters.

Problem  4:  Leased  ground production.   Production  from private
leased bottoms  could  enhance  the  Bay-wide  oyster  harvest,  but
leased grounds are under-utilized.  Expenses,  shortage  of seed and
shell, and disease mortality are among the contributing factors.

Strategy 4:  There will  be  a Bay-wide effort to  increase leased
ground production  by  increasing the  amount  of  seed  available,
developing  new  culture  methods,  continuing  technical extension
services, and implementing "proof of use" measures.

Problem 5: Habitat Issues.  Water and habitat quality  impacts the
distribution and abundance of oysters.

Strategy 5: The objectives of the  1987  Chesapeake Bay Agreement
will be promoted.

Problem 6:  Shellfish Sanitation.   Many  areas otherwise suitable
for shellfish production are closed or  lost  due to contamination
by pollutants and bacteria.

Strategy  6:  Plans  under the  1987  Chesapeake  Bay  Agreement  to
improve water quality will be promoted, and depuration and relaying
methods will be investigated.

Problem 7:  Market Production.   Chesapeake Bay  oysters are becoming
less  competitive  in the  national  market because  of  smaller Bay
harvests, standard  quality and  high price,   and  negative public
perception associated with oyster diseases and pollution.

Strategy 7:  Enhancement of Bay-wide oyster stocks by following this
plan  should  improve  many  market  considerations,   and  public
awareness programs  can  used to  combat misperceptions  about the
quality of Chesapeake Bay oysters.

Problem 8:  Repletion Programs.  Current repletion programs are not
improving oyster stocks, and other problems are arising.  Obtaining
an  adequate  supply of  dredged  shell  for  cultch  is  becoming
increasingly difficult,  and  the amount  of fresh or house shell
available is declining as the harvest declines.  Much of the fresh
shell  is  also  being lost because of  out-of-state exports  and
distribution  to many  small  businesses.   Seed  (small)  oyster
production   is   decreasing   because  of   oyster  diseases,   and
transporting shell  and oysters to disease-free  areas (often farther
up tributaries)  is becoming more expensive.

Strategy 8:   There needs to be  a Bay-wide effort  to  distribute
shell  and  seed  to  reflect  the  best  biological  information
available.    Recommended  actions include  reviewing  statutes  that
dictate repletion  strategies, analyzing  production  as  it relates
to  seed and  shell  plantings,  and  evaluating  export taxes  on
oysters.    Expanded  seed  programs,   establishment  of  oyster
sanctuaries, a  repletion program on the  Seaside of  Virginia,  and
increased use of alternative sources of cultch are also necessary.



     To protect and manage the natural resources of Chesapeake Bay,
the jurisdictions  are developing and will  implement  a series of
fishery management plans under the Chesapeake Bay Agreement. This
agreement  adopted a  schedule  for the  development  of Bay-wide
fishery  management plans  for commercially,  recreationally,  and
selected   ecologically  valuable   species.   The   strategy  for
implementing the Living Resources Commitments in the  1987 Agreement
listed the priority of each species and  a timetable  for  completion
of fishery management plans:

0  oysters, blue crabs and American shad by July 1989

0  striped bass, white perch, bluefish,  weakfish, and spotted
   trout by 1990

0  croaker, spot, summer flounder and American eel by 1991

0  red and black drum by 1992

     A  comprehensive  approach  to Bay  problems  and  a means  to
coordinate the various state and federal  groups was also  necessary.
Bay fisheries are managed separately by the  States of Pennsylvania,
Maryland, and Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the Potomac
River Fisheries  Commission.  There  is  also  a federal Mid-Atlantic
Fishery  Management Council  (MAFMC)  which  has  jurisdiction  for
management planning over offshore  fisheries (3-200  miles),  and a
coast-wide  organization,  the  Atlantic  States  Marine  Fisheries
Commission (ASMFC), which coordinates  the preparation  of plans for
migratory species in  state  coastal  waters  from Maine to Florida.
The state/federal Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee (CBSAC)
is responsible  for developing  a  Bay-wide  Stock Assessment Plan
which includes collection and analysis of fisheries information but
does  not include  the development  of fishery  management  plans.
Consequently,  a  Bay-wide Fisheries  Management  group,  under  the
Living Resources Subcommittee of  the  Chesapeake Bay Program,  was
formed  to  address the  commitment  in the  Bay  Agreement  for
management plans.

     The Fisheries Management group is responsible for  developing
and writing the fishery management plans and includes:
Maryland  Department   of  Natural  Resources,  Fisheries  Division;
Pennsylvania Fish Commission, Office of Chief Counsel,  Planning and
Environmental;   Potomac River  Fisheries  Commission;   Virginia
Marine Resources  Commission,  Fisheries  Management  Division;  and
Washington, D.C. Department of  Consumer and  Regulatory Affairs,
Fisheries  Management   Division.   The  management workgroup  also
included  representatives  from  the  Chesapeake  Bay  Foundation,


Chesapeake  Bay Commission,  University of  Maryland,  College  of
William and  Mary/Virginia Institute of Marine  Science,  Maryland
Watermen's Association, Virginia  Watermen's Association,  Charter
Boat  Association,   and  Maryland   Saltwater  Sportsfishermen's
Association.   Plans  developed   by  this   group  reflect   the
multijurisdictional  management requirements  appropriate to  the


A management  plan  is a dynamic process of  analyzing  the complex
biological, economic and social components of  a particular finfish
or shellfish fishery, defining problems, identifying solutions, and
implementing decisions regarding habitat problems and human usage
of the resource.

The goal  of fisheries management is to  protect the reproductive
capability  of the  resource  and provide  for  optimal  harvests.
Fisheries   management   must   include  biological,   economic  and
sociological considerations in order to be effective. It requires
an adaptive management  scheme which responds  to the most current
status  of  the stock, therefore,  it is of primary  importance to
prepare  a  plan  which  provides  a  means of  regular review and
reevaluation  of  current management actions.  Three  simply stated
objectives to protect the reproductive capabilities of the resource
while allowing optimal harvest include:

°  quantify biologically appropriate levels of harvest

°  monitor  current and future resource status to ensure harvest
   levels are conserving the  species while maintaining an
   economically viable fishery, and

0  adjust resource status if necessary  through management efforts.


The background section for each management plan summarizes:

0  biological profile

0  habitat  requirements

°  historical fishery trends

0  economic profile

°  current stock status

0  current regulations (in effect as of September 1988), and

°  data needs

This information was  modified  from  the Chesapeake Bay Fisheries;
Status. Trends. Priorities and  Data  Needs document. Including this
section  as  part  of  the management  plan  provides  historical
background  and  basic biological  information  for  each of  the

The management section of the plan defines:

0  specific goals and objectives for each species

0  problem areas for each species

0  management strategies to address each problem area, and
   action items with a schedule of implementation.
These plans are concise summaries that consider interjurisdictional
issues and  recommend  regulations which  will  be subject to public
review and appropriate approvals. Management planning provides the
opportunity for  public and scientific evaluation, and debate of
management  options and  regulation  strategies  prior  to  actual
regulatory  proposals.  As  the management  plan  review  process
continues,  changes will  be  necessary.  The  strategies will  be
further  defined   as   new  information   becomes  available  and,
therefore, must reflect some flexibility.

     Once  the plan has been  adopted by the  Executive Committee
appropriate regulatory and  legislative  action will  be  initiated.
An  annual  review  of  the management plans will  be required  to
continually update management strategies and actions.  A workgroup
will  be  established   to  annually   review  the  plan.   Completed
management  plans  will follow  the  schedule  set forth  by  the
Chesapeake  Bay Agreement. The  process of fishery management plan
review and acceptance is presented in the flow chart below.

        DRAFT TO
                                               LIVING RESOURCES
               CBLO DISTRIBUTES
                TO CBP MAILING
                                                    CBLO DISTRIBUTES
                                                      TO LIBRARIES
                                               SECOND DRAFT
                                                LRSC REVIEWS
                                                 2ND DRAFT
             SHORT SECOND
            PUBLIC COMMENT
   TO P.S.C.
    LIST, ETC.
                                              FMP WORKGROUP
                                                MAKES FINAL
                          FINAL DRAFT
                         DISTRIBUTED TO
1C (Implementation Committee)
CBLO  (Chesapeake Bay Liaison Office)
CBP (Chesapeake Bay Program)
LRSC  (Living  Resources Subcommittee)
PSC (Principal  Staff Commi
                                               LRSC APPROVES
                                                FINAL DRAFT
                                    FINAL DRAFT
                                   DISTRIBUTED TO

                      SECTION 1.   BACKGROUND

American oyster Introduction

American oysters occur along the east coast of North America from
the Gulf of St.  Lawrence,  Canada,  to Key Biscayne, Florida. In the
Carribean, the  range  of American oysters extends to the Yucatan
Peninsula of Mexico and the  West Indies  of Venezuela. Chesapeake
Bay,  which provides  optimal  environmental  conditions   for  the
species, is close to the center of its geographical distribution.
However, oyster production varies within the Bay system depending
on habitat conditions.

Oysters generally spawn from May through  September  in Chesapeake
Bay. Larvae settle to  the  bottom  two to three weeks after hatching
and attach to oyster shells or other hard substrates. The attach-
ing phase is termed "setting"  and the newly  attached oysters are
called "spat." Oysters grow at the rate of about one  inch per year
and  enter  the  market  from  three   to  five  years  after  spat

Oysters have a unigue ecological role in the estuarine environment.
As a result of their reproduction, growth and tremendous filtering
capacity, the  oyster  bar  community  is radically different  from
surrounding sand and mud communities. Oysters can filter and remove
sediments and algae from the water column.

FMP Status and Management Unit

The 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement contains a commitment to develop,
adopt and begin  to  implement a Bay-wide FMP  for  oysters by July

The management unit  is the American oyster (Crassostrea virqinica)
throughout its range in the Chesapeake Bay.

Fishery Parameters

Status of exploitation:       Fully exploited.

Long term potential catch:    Currently unknown,  highly dependent
                              on  prevalence   and   intensity  of

Importance of recreational
fishery:                      Insignificant.

Importance of commercial
fishery:                      Highly  significant; although
                              harvests are declining, oysters still
                              rank  as one   of the  top  seafood
                              species in dockside value.

Fishing mortality rates:

Biological Parameters

Natural mortality rate:


Age/size at maturity;
In the late 1970's, estimated at
0.24. Probably much higher now
Not   quantified,   but   variable.
Mortality   may   be   high   under
conditions  of  disease,  hypoxia  or
high freshwater inflow.

5 - 15 million  eggs at one spawning.

Generally 5-6 years;  up to 15 years.

2-3 years/3 inches.
Habitat Requirements

Spawning and larval development

Spawning season:              May through September.

Spawning area:                Throughout Chesapeake Bay.



Dissolved oxygen:
7-30 ppt; at 5 ppt, gametogenesis is
68° - 75° F.
o • o ~~ o • o •

Survival minimum 2.4 ppm.
Subadults and Adults




Dissolved oxygen:

Habitat Issues
Semi-hard mud to  hard,  rocky

5-32 ppt.

60° - 86° F.

Survival minimum  of 2.4 ppm.
Some of the more important environmental factors affecting oyster
stocks  include  substrate  type,   depth,   salinity,  and  disease
prevalence.  Oysters need a clean, stable substrate on which to set

and grow.  Soft mud, shifting sand or silted bottom are unsuitable.
Oysters are generally limited to waters less than 25' deep due to
hypoxic/anoxic conditions  that  develop in many  deeper waters of
the Bay. Salinities above  about 12  ppt increase oyster mortality
from predation and disease.

Man's activities have  impacted  the  distribution and abundance of
oysters. Sediment  from  channel  dredging,  upland construction and
agricultural activities can smother  oyster beds  and foul cultch to
prevent  setting. Nitrogen  and  phosphorus  enrichment from sewage
treatment plants and agricultural runoff have increased the extent
of hypoxic and anoxic  conditions.  Sewage input results  in high
coliform bacterial counts  which  force the closure  of shellfish
harvesting  areas  close to the treatment  outfall.   In  1986 only
45,500 out of 158,900 acres in the James River were classified by
the National  Shellfish Sanitation Program as  approved shellfish
growing waters. Maryland oyster samples collected and  analyzed from
1980-1986  revealed that heavy  metal or PCB  concentrations were
below action  levels in all  oyster  growing areas sampled in the
state. However, these  oysters did have levels higher  than would be
found in a pristine environment.

The Fisheries

Before the turn of  the century,  over 10 million bushels of oysters
(which  yielded approximately  64 million pounds  of  meat)  were
harvested annually in Maryland  by a large dredge fleet. Virginia
harvests at this time were approximately 6-7 million bushels (38-
45 million pounds  of meat),  and were harvested primarily by hand
tongers. Landings  have  declined dramatically  since  that time and
continue to show a  downward trend. During the past 27 years, oyster
harvests in Maryland ranged from 3.2  million bushels  (20.4 million
pounds)   in  1973 to 565,146 bushels  (3.6 million pounds)  in 1987
(Figure  1) . In Virginia,  the harvest  of market  oysters over the
same  time  period  ranged   from  1.9   million  bushels  (12  million
pounds)   in  1964 to 442,000 bushels  (2.8 million pounds)  in 1987
(Figure  2) . Prospects  for  the near  future are  for  similarly low
Economic Perspective

In Maryland, oysters have always been  a  major part of the yearly
commercial fishery landings.  On the average from 1971-1986, 48% of
the total dockside value and 21% of  all  commercial landings were
from oysters. In 1986,  in addition to the dockside value of $17.47
million,  harvesting   and  processing  activities   generated  an
additional $25 million of output of  all  goods and  services along
with $14 million in employee income and $1.84 million of indirect
taxes. Although the price per bushel of oysters increased in 1988
($20/bushel), the total dockside value for the Maryland oyster


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harvest decreased from 16.3  million dollars in 1987 to 7.3 million

Total  landings  and  dollar  value,   however,  are not  the  best
indicators of the health of  a  fishery.  Economists have developed
several indices related to profits which indicate the health of a
fishing industry. From an economic analysis of the Maryland fishing
industry, the 1987 productivity of the oyster industry has declined
to about 40% of  the  1981 value.  This loss has been tempered by a
decline in effort and  an  increase in the price of oysters.  As a
result,  watermen who   continued  to  harvest   oysters  earned
approximately the same profits as they  earned  in 1981.  According
to the Maryland fishing industry analysis,  if oyster prices in 1987
had  remained at  the 1986  level,  industry  health and  watermen
profits would have fallen to their lowest value in the decade.
Resource Status

At  present,  the  Baywide oyster  stock can  be  characterized  as
severely  depleted.   Recent  expansions  of  the  range  of  oyster
diseases,  MSX  (Haplosporidium  nelsoni)   and  Dermo  (Perkinsus
marinus),  low  dissolved oxygen   episodes  and  past  harvesting
practices are primarily  responsible  for the population's current
decline. Average levels of spatfall have dropped in the past decade
and the  number of natural  beds receiving spatfall  adequate for
replenishment has been reduced from historic levels. In Maryland,
the 1983 and 1984 spat sets were virtually non-existent. Although
the 1985 spatfall was exceptionally high and well distributed, the
year class has been effectively wiped out in those areas infected
by disease. Maryland's 1986  spatfall  was considered average and of
limited  distribution. Many  of  the   1986  year  class  have  been
infected by  MSX and  Dermo and  may be  killed  if high  salinities
continue in the Maryland portion of the Bay. Continued low levels
and poor geographic distribution of spatfall levels have occurred
during 1987 and 1988.

Since 1985,  the James River has become the center  of  the market
oyster landings in Virginia.   The  low number of surviving spat, as
determined from the VIMS oyster shoal surveys since the spring of
1986, indicates that the  James River is failing to match the losses
in  number  of oysters with an equal  recruitment  of  spat.   Bushel
counts  (spat,  small,  and market)  for spring  1988 were  below 100
oysters per bushel downriver from Wreck Shoal  and Dry Shoal in the
James.  Upriver of these same bars,  the bushel count has dropped
from an average of 504 oysters per bushel  in the  spring of 1986 to
274  oysters  per  bushel  in  the spring of  1988.   In  the  Great
Wicomico River, spat per bushel  averaged 887 spat on all bars, but
the number of small oysters decreased 56 percent in one year.

Current management strategies for oysters in Chesapeake Bay include
an  annual  planting  of  oyster  shell  on  natural  bars and  the
transporting of seed oysters from areas of high spat set to areas
of low set.
Laws and Regulations

Limited entry:
Maryland's   Delay   of  Application
Process went into  effect September
1,  1988  and  requires  previously
unlicensed  applicants to wait two
years  after registering  with MDNR
before a license to harvest oysters
with commercial gear will be issued.

On the Potomac River,  only Maryland
and Virginia residents may
commercially oyster.

Limited or delayed entry are not in
effect in Virginia.
Minimum size limit:
Maryland - 3".

Potomac River- 3" with 5% tolerance,
however, market oysters with small
oysters attached must be returned if
separating them kills the small
oyster  (including spat).

Virginia  - James  River  Seed  Area
market oysters must equal or exceed
2.5"; all other areas,  3".   No cull
size for leased (private)  grounds.
Daily catch limit:
Recreational  — Maryland,  Potomac
River  and  Virginia:   no  license
required for the taking of one bushel
per day from public grounds.
Commercial  —  Maryland:  shaft  and
patent  tongs   -   25   bushels  per
licensee,  but  not  to  exceed  75
bushels per  shaft tong boat or single
rig boat, or 100 bushels per double
rig boat; dredge boat - 150 bushels
per boat; diving  - 30  bushels  per
boat; power dredging (in designated
waters  of  Somerset county)  -  12
bushels  per  licensee   but  not  to

Harvest quotas:
exceed 24 bushels per boat.

Commercial—Potomac River: None.

Commercial — Virginia:  Hand tongs
15 bushels per person per day or 45
bushels  per boat  per  day  in  the
Nansemond, Poquoson and Back Rivers
and Chisman Creek; patent tongs and
dredge-15 bushels per person per day
or 45 bushels per  boat per day for
the Pocomoke Sound/Tangier Management
Area and 45 bushels per boat per day
for  the  Chesapeake  Bay  Management

Not  in  effect  in  Maryland,  on the
Potomac River or Virginia.

Maryland - Shaft tongs, patent tongs
and diving; September 15 to March 31,
Monday through Saturday, sunrise to
sunset, except Worcester County where
the season is January 1 to December
31, Monday through  Saturday, sunrise
to sunset.  Dredging:  Sail dredging
in  designated  waters  state-wide,
November  1  to  March  15,  Monday
through Saturday, sunrise to sunset.
Power dredging;  in  designated waters
of  Somerset  County,  November  1 to
March 15,  Monday through Saturday,
sunrise to 3 pm.  Private grounds: no
seasonal restrictions, but harvesting
between  sunset   and  sunrise or on
Sunday is prohibited.

Potomac River - Hand shaft tongs:
October 1 through March 31. Hand
Scrape; Months of November, December
and March.

Virginia - Shaft tongs or hand tongs;
James River Seed Area, October 1 to
July 1, sunrise  to  sunset.  All other
public areas, October  1  to June 1,
sunrise to sunset  (except  sunrise -
2 p.m.  for Cod  Harbor and Pocomoke
Sound, and sunrise to  12  noon for
Milford Haven).   Private grounds, no
seasonal restrictions; but harvesting
on  Sunday  or   between  sunset  and

                              sunrise is prohibited.
                              Patent tonas: October 1 to March 1,
                              sunrise to  sunset, for  all public
                              areas  not  prohibited  by  Section
                              28.1-82 of the  Code of Virginia or
                              VMRC Regulations and Orders. October
                              1  to  the last day  of  February,
                              sunrise to 2p.m.,  in the Piankatank
                              River,  Pocomoke Sound/Tangier  and
                              Chesapeake  Bay  Management  Areas.
                              Private grounds, Sunday  and sunset
                              to sunrise harvesting is prohibited.
                              Dredge; Pocomoke/Tangier Management
                              Area,   15  November-last   day   of
                              February (sunrise-2 P.M.). Chesapeake
                              Bay Management Area, 1 November-last
                              day  of  February  (sunrise-2 P.M.).
                              Private   grounds,    generally   no
                              restrictions,   except   Sunday  and
                              sunset  to  sunrise  harvesting  is

Gear Restrictions:            Maryland - The legal gear types for
                              harvesting   oysters  in   Maryland
                              include hand tongs, patent tongs,
                              diving gear, handscrapes and dredges.
                              The  use  of  each  gear  type  is
                              restricted  to  certain  designated
                              areas as set forth in Maryland's laws
                              and    regulations.   Dredges    or
                              handscrapes cannot exceed  200 Ibs.
                              in weight  or have a tooth bar greater
                              than 42  inches in length (as measured
                              from the  outside teeth)  on dredges
                              used on rock  bottom, or 44 inches in
                              length  for  dredges  uses  on  mud
                              bottom. No   "devil catch",  "devil
                              diver", or similar device  is to be
                              attached to  the  dredge  to  steer it
                              to the bottom. No power boat  may have
                              on board or in tow  any gear used for
                              dredging unless  it is  permitted by
                              the  Department  to  harvest  oysters
                              from leased bottom, from State seed
                              areas, or  unless it is a sail dredge
                              boat using it's yawl boat  on push
                              days. On  Monday  and Tuesday during
                              the oyster dredging season a dredge
                              boat may be propelled by an auxiliary
                              yawl boat  in  certain areas.  Diving -
                              each person  engaged in  the diving
                              operation must be licensed. Not more

                              than two divers  can work from a boat
                              at one time. Each diver  shall have
                              one  attendant  on   the   boat.   An
                              International Code Flag  "A"  of the
                              proper   specifications   must   be
                              displayed.  Power  assisted  lifted
                              devices  may  be  used  subject  to
                              specified conditions.

                              Potomac River - Patent tongs and
                              power or sail scrapes or dredges,
                              power or hand-operated winch, spool,
                              winder, ets. are prohibited.  Hand
                              scrapes limited  to 22" catching bar.
                              Diving for oysters limited to
                              recreational harvest  of 1 bushel per
                              person per day.  Legal gear types
                              include hand shaft tongs, power
                              assisted hand shaft tongs and hand

                              Virginia  -  Only one type  of gear,
                              either  hand  tongs,   patent  tongs
                              (limit of 2) or a single dredge, is
                              allowed on  a vessel  at  one time in
                              the Pocomoke/Tangier and Chesapeake
                              Bay Management areas. Only one type
                              of gear,  either  hand  tongs or patent
                              tongs  (limit of 2),  is allowed on a
                              vessel at one time in the Piankatank
                              River Management Area. Patent  tongs -
                              the teeth of patent tongs shall not
                              exceed four inches   in  length,  and
                              patent tongs exceeding 100 pounds in
                              gross    weight,    including    any
                              attachments (excluding rope for the
                              taking or catching of oysters), are
                              prohibited. Dredge  - a  dredge and
                              attachment cannot exceed 100 pounds
                              total weight.

Area Restrictions:            Maryland  -  Hand tongs  are allowed
                              Statewide,  with portions  of  most
                              tributaries reserved for hand tongs
                              only.  Downstream of these  areas,
                              diving is allowed.  Patent tongs are
                              permitted in the mainstem Chesapeake
                              Bay, the  lower Patuxent River  and all
                              of Somerset  County.  Power dredging
                              is restricted to  designated  waters
                              of Somerset County. Sail dredging is
                              restricted  to  the  Mainstem  Bay,


Time Restrictions:
Tangier Sound,  and  portions of the
Choptank River.

Potomac River - No harvest allowed
in 25 acre oyster sanctuary on Jones
Shore. Hand tongs, none except
sanctuary. Hand scrapes, not allowed
on Jones Shore or above a line from
Herring Creek, MD to Bonum Creek, VA.
Virginia  -  Only  hand  tongs  are
permitted in most areas, with patent
tongs  restricted  to  those  areas
specified by the Code of Virginia or
VMRC    Regulations    and    Orders
(Piankatank River, Chesapeake Bay and
Pocomoke/Tangier Management Areas).
Dredging   is  restricted   to   the
Pocomoke/Tangier and Chesapeake Bay
Management Areas.

Potomac River - Hand tongs,  lawful
only Monday through Friday from
sunrise to 3:00 p.m. EST. Hand
scrapes, lawful only Monday through
Thursday during March and Monday,
Wednesdays and Fridays during
November and December from 8:00 a.m.
to 12 noon each day.
Status of Traditional Fishery Management Approaches
Estimates of mortality:


Maximum Sustainable
Yield (MSY):
Commercial   fisheries   data   for
Chesapeake  Bay  are  a  reasonable
indicator of the  current status of
the stock. However,  catch and effort
statistics for the commercial fishery
are, in general, of low quality and
of  limited  value   in  developing
fisheries management models.

3-100%    depending     on   disease

Currently unknown.

The stock-recruitment  relationship
for   Chesapeake  Bay   oysters   is
Perhaps as high as 14 million pounds
in Maryland under ideal conditions.

Virtual Population
Analysis (VPA):                Has not been carried out.

Data and Information Needs

1.   Yearly   evaluation   of  the  geographic   distribution  and
     prevalence of MSX and Perkinsus.

2.   Evaluation of the ability of MSX resistant oysters to survive
     when placed in the Chesapeake Bay.

3.   Identification  of the MSX  mode  of  transmission  and  the
     oyster's immune response to MSX.

4.   Evaluation of production from seed plantings in low salinity

5.   Determine factors affecting abundance,  survival and growth of
     larvae and juveniles.

6.   Determine the  acreage of actively  cultivated  leased bottom
     and estimates of CPUE from that acreage.

7.   Determine production potential for synthetic cultch material.

8.   Determine  the  density   of  spawning   stock  necessary  to
     repopulate an area decimated by disease.

9.   Determine natural and fishing mortality rates.

10.  Define stock/recruitment relationship.

11.  Identify costs associated with harvesting and processing

Haven,  D.S.,  W.J.  Hargis  and  P.C.  Kendall.  1981.  The  oyster
industry  of Virginia:  its  status,  problems  and  promise.  VIMS
Special Paper in Marine Science No. 4 1024.

Kennedy, V.S. and  L.  Breisch.  1981.  Maryland's oysters: research
and management.  Maryland Sea Grant, UM-SG-TS-8104,  College Park
Lipton,  D.  1987.   The  status  of  Maryland's  fishing industry.
University of Maryland, Sea Grant Extension. Publ. No. UM-SG-MAP-

Maryland Department of Natural Resources. 1987. Maryland's oyster
resources: status and trends, 1987. MDNR,  Tidal  Fisheries Division,
Annapolis, Md.

Virginia Marine  Resources Commission. 1988. Oyster  resources in
Virginia, Part I: Description. VMRC Fisheries Management Division,
Newport News, Va.

                   SECTION 2.  OYSTER MANAGEMENT

The source documents for this plan (Haven et al., 1981; Kennedy and
Breisch,  1981;  MD  DNR,  1987;  VMRC,  1988)  discuss many  problems
associated with  the current  status  of  the Chesapeake  Bay  oyster
resource and  its  industry.  Oyster management programs in  Maryland
and Virginia have consisted of protecting oyster bars from dredging
or filling, planting shell on natural oyster bars, transporting seed
oysters to augment natural oyster production, and regulating oyster
harvest  through  seasons,   catch  limits,   cull  laws,   and  gear
restrictions. With an increase in disease, the historical management
techniques are no longer cost effective and the regulations need to
be  reevaluated.    The  Maryland and  Virginia  oyster  resource  is
characterized by  instability  and  declining harvests  and  warrants
comprehensive management. For  this plan,  oyster problems have been
grouped  into several  categories  which   served  as  the  basis  for
identifying  the  goal and management  objectives. The  problems  are
followed by  strategies developed  to  address the  oyster problems.
Current  regulations  regarding oyster harvest  will continue  to  be
enforced with specific changes as recommended by  the management plan.

Fishery activity  on  the tidewater portion  of the  Potomac  River  is
managed by the Potomac  River  Fisheries Commission, a six member body
empowered under the Maryland-Virginia Compact of  1958. The Commission
meets quarterly to establish and maintain a program of conservation
and improvement of the  seafood resources  and to regulate and license
fisheries  in  the  Potomac  River.  The  Commission  will  develop
appropriate Actions and Implementations to address those Problems and
Strategies identified  in  the Management Plan which  are  within  the
purview of the Commission by July 1990.


The overall goal of this plan is:

     Increase the baywide stocks of oysters through the
     initiation of short and long-term management actions which
     will enhance the ecological value of the resource, ensure the
     growth of the resource and maintain a viable fishery in the
     long term. The management plan for oysters will be adaptive
     and involve continuous responses to new information about the
     current state of the resource.

In order to achieve this goal,  the  following objectives must be met:

     1) Stabilize harvest to maintain a spawning stock at a size
        which eliminates low reproductive potential as a cause of
        poor spawning success.

     2) Promote protection of the resource by maintaining a clear
        distinction between conservation goals and allocation

     3) Evaluate statewide repletion efforts.

     4) Encourage the utilization of aquaculture techniques on
        private oyster grounds.

     5) Develop quantities of low-cost, low-risk seed sources in
        disease-free areas to benefit the public and private

     6) Promote continued cooperation of various state agencies
        in water quality and habitat improvement measures to
        maximize conditions for natural production and to
        minimize harvest restrictions due to sanitary reasons.

     7) Further our understanding of oyster diseases and the
        development of a disease-resistant strain of Chesapeake Bay

     8) Enable baywide fisheries management agencies to provide
        more timely and effective responses to short term and
        unpredictable changes in the status or operation of the

     9) Increase and stabilize the market share of Bay oysters by
        providing a reliable product both in quality and quantity.


Problem-Harvest Decline and Overharvesting: The Chesapeake Bay oyster
fishery can be characterized by instability and declining harvests.
During the past  27  years,  oyster harvests  in  Maryland have ranged
from 3.2 million bushels (20.4 million pounds)  in  1973  to 565,146
bushels (3.6 million  pounds)  in 1987. In Virginia,  the  harvest of
market oysters  over the same  time  period ranged from 1.9 million
bushels (12 million pounds)  in 1964 to 442,000 bushels (2.8 million
pounds) in 1987. A high mortality of market oysters during 1986 and
1987 have caused the resource to reach an all time low.  Maryland's
1988 harvest of  355,473  bushels represents a  77% decline  from the
1986 harvest of  1,557,091 bushels.  Traditionally productive areas
have been lost due to disease mortality and the effects of advances
in gear technology.  Presently, there is a concentrated fishing effort
up the tributaries  and Bay to  areas  of about 12 parts per thousand
salinity  or  less.  In Virginia  this  has resulted  in  the  almost
exclusive use  of the  James River  as the  State clean  cull  area.
Similarly, the  fishing  effort  in  Maryland  is  directed  on  seed
plantings and the remaining naturally productive oyster bars.

Strategy-Harvest  Decline  and  Overharvesting:  Oyster  harvest  from
public bars is governed by the quantity and distribution of natural
spat set. The outlook for future years is not promising and current
management  attempts at  increasing harvest  on a  local  scale  are
insufficient to halt the decline.  The  average  catch per man day is
lower than the permitted daily limit, therefore, it is no longer an
effective means of  conserving the oyster  resource.  Harvest levels
need to  be set commensurate to the  resource  status.  Analysis  of
existing  and  future  data  on  oysters  will  allow for  necessary
modifications  to  the   FMP  strategies.  Comprehensive   use   and
improvement of the FMP strategies is deemed necessary to revive the

     PROBLEM 1.1
     Oyster harvest and associated revenues in the Chesapeake Bay
     have declined to a record low. Current management practices
     have not been effective in maintaining historical levels of

          STRATEGY 1.1
          There will be a Baywide effort to stabilize oyster
          harvest and protect brood stocks.

               ACTION 1.1.1
               Maryland and Virginia will open and close harvest
               areas on a rotating basis to control fishing
               effort.  Recommendations for closed areas will
               be based on an analysis of the oyster population
               structure,  i.e., number of adults,  juvenile
               oysters and spat, determined by annual surveys.  As
               an example,  when adult oyster density reaches a
               predetermined minimum, the bar will be closed.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 1.1.1
               ACTION 1.1.2
               Maryland and Virginia will establish catch limits
               that reflect the status of the resource. Catch
               limits will be developed to stabilize harvest
               based on historic harvest trends for specific
               geographic areas. Recommendations will also consider
               recent spat set, mortality rates, levels of disease
               infection and growth rates.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 1.1.2

               ACTION 1.1.3
               Maryland will continue a delayed entry program to
               stabilize fishing effort.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 1.1.3
                    Maryland law currently in effect.

Problem-Recruitment:  For the past two decades, natural spat set has
been erratic and generally low.  The geographic range of good setting
areas has  also been reduced  compared  to historic trends.   Though
there have been  strong  reproductive  years  such  as 1985,  the stocks
have been severely depressed by  continued disease mortality, harvest
pressure, and water quality. The repletion programs in Maryland and
Virginia are dependent on natural spatfall.

Strategy-Recruitment: Both  the  magnitude of  spat  set and number of
consecutive years in which a spat set occurs in a specific geographic
area  are  important to  future  recruitment and  harvest.  Present
management efforts are dependent on natural spatfall.  Planting shell
for the production  of seed  in seed areas  provides more habitat for
new oysters.

     PROBLEM 2.1
     There has been a significant increase in the number of
     specific oyster bars with  low levels of spat set.

          STRATEGY 2.1
          There will be a Baywide effort to enhance natural
          spatfall and recruitment to the fishery.

               ACTION 2.1.1
               Maryland and Virginia will continue hatchery
               operations to produce eyed larvae and seed oysters
               for research and rehabilitation projects.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 2.1.1
               ACTION 2.1.2
               Maryland and Virginia will support aquaculture
               efforts as a means of increasing oyster production
               with a subsequent increase in brood stock.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 2.1.2

               ACTION 2.1.3
               Maryland and Virginia will continue the oyster
               repletion program of planting shell for cultch and
               moving seed oysters to augment natural reproduction.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 2.1.3
               ACTION 2.1.4
               Maryland, as an experimental procedure, will
               reconstruct buried oyster bars to the physical
               configuration that enabled the extinct bar to be
               productive in the past.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 2.1.4
               ACTION 2.1.5
               Maryland and Virginia are conducting research on
               the relationship between adult oyster density and
               recruitment and will use the information to regulate
               harvest and provide optimum stocking of seed

                    IMPLEMENTATION 2.1.5
Problem-Disease  Mortality:    Recent  harvest declines,  especially
during 1986 and 1987, are the result of extensive disease mortalities
by MSX and Dermo (Perkinsus). Virginia has lost most of their growing
areas due to disease.  Little is known  about the mode of transmission
of these diseases  and  there is  no  known  cure.  Presently,  these
diseases cannot be controlled or eliminated.

Strategy-Disease  Mortality:  Recent  expansion  of  the  geographic
occurrence of  oyster  diseases has been one  of the  primary factors
contributing to the oyster  decline  in  Maryland and  Virginia.  The
nature of the  disease problem requires  careful monitoring in order
to make timely decisions about management actions.

     PROBLEM 3.1
     The decline in the oyster resource has been compounded by
     high mortalities from the diseases MSX and Dermo (Perkinsus)
     in most of the commercially important oyster beds.

          STRATEGY 3.1
          There will be a Baywide effort to understand and control
          the spread of oyster disease.

               ACTION 3.1.1
               Maryland and Virginia will continue the annual
               disease survey to determine the best plan for
               planting seed and shell.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 3.1.1
               ACTION 3.1.2
               Maryland will implement a program to monitor seed
               oysters for disease before transporting to
               disease-free areas. Techniques used for monitoring
               will include histocytology, immunological detection
               tests and histopathology.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 3.1.2
               ACTION 3.1.3
               Maryland and Virginia will continue research on the
               transmission and reduction of oyster diseases and
               development of a disease-free strain of Crassostrea

                    IMPLEMENTATION 3.1.3
               ACTION 3.1.4
               Maryland and Virginia are researching the
               development of a disease-resistant hybrid oyster
               with the potential for introduction into the
               Chesapeake Bay. Proper precautions will be taken
               to avoid the introduction of exotic organisms
               into the Bay ecosystem.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 3.1.4
Problem-Leased Ground Production:   Presently, private leased bottoms
are  under-utilized.  For  both Maryland  and Virginia  it  has  been
estimated that  less than  10% of the  total leased grounds  are in
production.  The expenses of private bed preparation and seeding are
a  deterrent  and there  is a  shortage of  shell and  seed.  Disease
mortality has also stifled private production and initiative.


Strategy-Leased  Ground Production:  Private  oyster production  on
leased ground could enhance oyster harvest. During their best years,
Virginia increased oyster  production by  more than seven times from
their private leased grounds.  In Maryland, leased bottom production,
especially  in  areas  of   low  salinity,  could  provide  increased

     PROBLEM 4.1
     Leased ground is under-utilized and could be a viable means of
     increasing oyster production.

          STRATEGY 4.1
          There will be a Baywide effort to increase leased ground
          production as a means of conserving and enhancing the
          oyster population in the Bay.

               ACTION 4.1.1
               Maryland has established a seed bed for sale of
               seed to private leaseholders.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 4.1.1
               ACTION 4.1.2
               Maryland and Virginia will continue an active
               extension program to provide technical assistance to
               oyster leaseholders.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 4.1.2
               ACTION 4.1.3
               Maryland and Virginia will implement "proof of use"
               measures in the form of minimum production or
               repletion criteria, to promote private production
               and cultivation.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 4.1.3
               ACTION 4.1.4
               Virginia will promote the development of new culture
               methods by removing impediments in the existing
               permitting process required for the private sector.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 4.1.4

               ACTION 4.1.5
               Virginia will research the feasibility of and
               methodology for new culture methods. VIMS will
               initiate rack culture research by establishing pilot
               studies. Results will be used to assess the economic
               and biological feasibility of implementing such a
               program in Virginia.

                     IMPLEMENTATION 4.1.5

Problem-Habitat Issues:  The  distribution and abundance  of oysters
are impacted by water quality. Nitrogen and phosphorus overenrichment
from sewage treatment plants and agricultural runoff have increased
the extent  of hypoxic and  anoxic conditions thus  limiting oyster
distribution. Man's activities have  also impacted the distribution
and abundance of oysters. Sediment  from channel  dredging,  upland
construction and agricultural activities have smothered oyster beds
and fouled cultch enough to prevent setting.

Strategy-Habitat  Issues:   Water  quality  standards   and  strict
enforcement  are  necessary to insure adequate protection of living
resources in Chesapeake Bay.

     PROBLEM 5.1
     Water quality impacts the distribution and abundance of
     oysters in Chesapeake Bay.

          STRATEGY 5.1
          Maryland and Virginia will promote the objectives of the
          Chesapeake Bay Agreement to improve water quality in all
          areas of the Bay.

               ACTION 5.1
               The following action items are commitments under the
               1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement. Maryland DNR and VMRC
               will not carry out the specific commitments, but are
               involved in setting the objectives of the programs
               to fulfill the commitments and reviewing the results
               of the action programs. The achievement of these
               commitments will lead to improved water quality and
               enhanced biological production.

               A) Develop and adopt a basinwide plan that will
                  achieve a 40% reduction of nutrients entering the
                  Chesapeake Bay by the year 2000.
                 1)  Construct public and private sewage facilities.
                 2)  Reduce the discharge of untreated or
                    inadequately treated sewage.
                 3)  Establish and enforce nutrient and conventional
                    pollutant limitations in regulated discharges.


                 4) Reduce levels of nutrients and other
                    conventional pollutants in runoff from
                    agricultural and forested lands.
                 5) Reduce levels of nutrients and other
                    conventional pollutants in urban runoff.

               B) Develop and adopt a basinwide plan for the
                  reduction and control of toxic materials entering
                  the Chesapeake Bay system from point and nonpoint
                  sources and from bottom sediments.
                 1) Reduce discharge of metals and organic
                    compounds from sewage treatment plants
                    receiving industrial wastewater.
                 2) Reduce the discharge of metals and organic
                    compounds from industrial sources.
                 3) Reduce levels of metals and organic compounds
                    in urban and agriculture runoff.
                 4) Reduce chlorine discharges to critical finfish

               C) Develop and adopt a basinwide plan for the
                  management of conventional pollutants entering
                  the Chesapeake Bay from point and nonpoint
                 1) Manage sewage sludge, dredge spoil and
                    hazardous wastes.
                 2) Improve dissolved oxygen concentrations in the
                    Chesapeake Bay through the reduction of
                    nutrients from both point and nonpoint
                 3) Continue study of the impacts of acidic
                    conditions on water quality.
                 4) Manage groundwater to protect the water quality
                    of the Chesapeake Bay.
                 5) Manage marine sources of non-point pollution
                    such as recreational and commercial boat
                 6) Continue research to refine strategies to
                    reduce point and nonpoint sources of nutrient,
                    toxic and convential pollutants in the
                    Chesapeake Bay.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 5.1
                    Variable, depending on the specific project.

Problem-Shellfish  Sanitation:    In  response  to  FDA  guidelines,
Maryland's Department of  the Environment established conditionally
approved areas which  are  restricted to  shellfish  harvesting  for 3
days after periods of rainfall,  1"  or more in a 24 hour period. This
was in response to a human health concern from consumption of oysters
contaminated  with bacterial  pathogens.  The  FDA  guidelines  keep


oysters with transitory high  levels  of bacterial contaminants from
being harvested. The  areas  of concern are located  in  almost every
tributary  in  Maryland.  For the   1987-1988   season   there  were
approximately  18  days  when  some  part of  the  Bay  was closed  to
shellfish harvesting. Such  closures  interrupted harvest and market
supply  but   more  importantly,   the  publicity   about  possible
contamination shifted consumer preference away from Maryland oysters.
In  Virginia,  continuous   habitat   degradation  has  resulted  in
approximately 100,000 acres of productive or potentially productive
shellfish grounds being classified as unsuitable by the Division of
Shellfish Sanitation. Improvement or reopening of these areas will
be difficult because  of high  fecal coliform  counts which cannot be
traced to point source pollution. This problem  is expected to become
increasingly worse  as human population continues to grow.  In both
Maryland and Virginia,  permitted discharges of treated wastewater
into the Bay and tributaries from sewage treatment plants require a
closed shellfish harvesting  zone  around the outfall. Construction or
expansion of sewage treatment  plants  to serve the growing population
or areas presently without public sewage connections, will increase
the number and size of outfall closures.

Strategy-Shellfish Sanitation: The sessile nature of oysters makes
them particularly vulnerable to adverse water quality conditions and
bacterial contamination. The  oyster  resource can be protected from
bacterial  contamination by  reducing  the outflow of  bacterially
contaminated water into  shellfish harvesting areas. A less desirable
tactic is to move oysters from closed areas.

     PROBLEM 6.1
     Outfall from sewage is frequently the cause of bacterial
     contamination of oyster bars in Chesapeake Bay.

          STRATEGY 6.1
          As an extension of the efforts to improve water quality
          in the Bay through the nutrient, toxics and conventional
          pollutant control plans of the 1987 Chesapeake Bay
          Agreement, bacterial pollution will also be controlled.

               ACTION 6.1.1
               Maryland and Virginia will promote the objectives of
               the Chesapeake Bay Agreement to  improve water
               quality in all areas of the Bay  as stated in Action

                    IMPLEMENTATION 6.1.1
                    Variable,  depending on the  specific project.

               ACTION 6.1.2
               Virginia will continue participation in the
               Interagency Shellfish Enhancement Task Force

               (SENTAF) to encourage cleanup and opening of
               condemned shellfish grounds.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 6.1.2
                    Currently being implemented

               ACTION 6.1.3
               A) Maryland and Virginia will investigate the
                  potential of depuration techniques. (1992)
               B) Virginia will implement regulations allowing for
                  the containerized relaying of condemned oysters.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 6.1.3
                    Variable, depending on the specific project.

               ACTION 6.1.4
               Maryland and Virginia will promote more effective
               treatment of sewage through innovative disinfection
               techniques and promote municipal water conservation
               programs which should reduce sewage volume. Specific
               items are defined in Action 5.1-A.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 6.1.4

Problem-Market Production:   Chesapeake Bay oysters  are marginally
competitive in the  national market because of  their size,  quality
and higher  price.  Consequently,  consumer preference  for Maryland
oysters has decreased  and processors report that  some restaurants
and seafood outlets have discontinued the sale of Maryland oysters.
Consumer avoidance  to  Maryland's oysters  is  also due  to negative
media publicity about the diseases MSX and Dermo.

Strategy-Market   Production:   Application  of   optimum   fishery
regulations,  repletion  programs,  disease  control  and  habitat
restoration should  improve  stock condition and result  in larger
harvests and restoration of consumer confidence.

     PROBLEM 7.1
     The quality of Chesapeake Bay oysters has diminished and
     consumer demand has been affected by the disease problem.

          STRATEGY 7.1
          There will be a Baywide effort to improve oyster
          stock condition.

               ACTION 7.1.1
               Maryland and Virginia will implement the strategies
               of this management plan to restore oyster stocks.
               Productive stocks should help correct the market

                    IMPLEMENTATION 7.1.1
               ACTION 7.1.2
               A) Maryland will promote public awareness that
                  oysters infected with MSX and Dermo are safe to
               B) Virginia will use industry and state promotion of
                  oyster quality to prevent further loss of market
                  production due to public misconceptions.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 7.1.1
Repletion Program;

Maryland-  In 1988, Maryland planted approximately 5.8 million
           bushels of dredged shells; 130,000 bushels of fresh
           shells; and 878,000 bushels of seed.  Continued
           funding is necessary to maintain this repletion
           effort. The most immediate problem in the repletion
           program is securing a supply of dredged shells to
           meet future needs. The areas now being dredged will
           last about two more years at best. Obtaining the
           necessary permits to dredge new areas is increasingly
           difficult with growing public pressure against any
           expansion of the dredging program. No viable
           substitutes exist for dredged shell.

           As harvest declines, the amount of fresh shell
           declines and Maryland loses 60% of its fresh shell
           supply due to out-of-state export of the oyster
           harvest. There is no economical nor logistical method
           to purchase, transport and plant these shells back in
           Maryland waters. The fresh shells that remain in
           Maryland are a small contribution to the State's shell

           The Department of Natural Resources has no disease-
           free seed producing areas in Maryland. The
           traditional seed grow-out areas are also infected
           requiring expensive long distance transport of seed
           to less impacted areas.

Virginia-  Repletion efforts have helped the oyster industry to
           maintain production but only at low levels compared to
           historical harvests. Further expansion of repletion
           activities is needed to counteract disease problems,
           water quality conditions, and climatic events.  The
           repletion program will need more than the 1.9 million
           bushels of shell planted in 1987 to establish future
           seed growing areas. Virginia has not developed its own
           reef shell supply and receives only a small percentage
           of the "house" shells from the packing and processing
           industry. The number of seed areas have decreased due to
           disease and have not improved. Additionally, the
           repletion department does not have the necessary storage
           areas, manpower or equipment to accommodate a large
           volume of "house" shells. Virginia also faces a shortage
           of disease-free seed growing areas for planting shells.
           The problem is compounded because seed can no longer
           be transplanted in historical grow-out areas in the
           Potomac tributaries, lower Rappahannock River or
           Pocomoke Sound because of disease intensity. The
           repletion program must incur increased cost to
           incorporate other less accessible grow-out areas.
           The repletion program lacks adequate monitoring
           equipment and manpower to quantitatively analyze
           (stock assessment) the results of shell planting
           and seed transplanting activities.

Strategy-Repletion Program: Planting dredged  or fresh shell and seed
oysters will be the mainstay of the repletion program to supplement
natural oyster reproduction.

     PROBLEM 8.1
     The repletion program is adversely affected by low natural
     spatfall, shortage of cultch, disease problems and cost of
     transporting seed and shell.

          STRATEGY 8.1
          There will be a Baywide effort to distribute oyster shell
          and seed to reflect the best biological information

               ACTION 8.1.1
               Maryland will review the existing statutory
               authority which dictates the distribution of
               seed and shell.

                    IMPLEMENTATION 8.1.1

ACTION 8.1.2
Maryland will consider increasing the tax on
exported oysters to compensate for the loss of shell
and increase revenue for oyster propagation.

ACTION 8.1.3
Maryland and Virginia will evaluate their repletion
programs by monitoring production in the planted and
seeded areas.

     Currently being implemented.
ACTION 8.1.4
Maryland and Virginia will utilize alternative
sources of cultch.

ACTION 8.1.5
Maryland will continue to protect and expand
specific areas of oyster production by establishing
oyster sanctuaries for seed and research purposes.

ACTION 8.1.6
Virginia will enhance its seed oyster program in the
Great Wicomico, Piankatank, and James Rivers to
contribute to the rebuilding of the oyster fishery
in Virginia. Seed will be used to plant prime
disease-free growing areas.

     Currently being implemented
ACTION 8.1.7
Virginia will establish a special repletion program
for the Seaside of Eastern Shore.