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Lending Oysters a Hand

I couldn’t agree more with Jeffrey H. Horstman’s Oct. 1 letter, Save the Ugly Oyster. Science tells us that this creature is a real champion in cleaning the Bay’s water. At a time when great effort and expense is being undertaken to clean up the Bay, it makes no sense to remove any oysters from its waters. Instead, we should be doing all we can to increase the oyster population.
    Those watermen who have harvested oysters in the recent past have been experiencing a declining income from a declining resource. Surely they must understand that such income does not have a bright future. Typically they earn income from other activities outside of the oyster season and are a hardy, resourceful group of men. They should be able to increase their off-season income activities. When looking at the big picture, we may realize that it would be more cost effective to pay them for not oystering. A plan that would compensate them based on a formula that considers previous years’ harvests might work to everyone’s benefit.
    The value of the Bay in terms of real estate, pleasure boating and improved seafood industry health would more than offset the cost of a subsidy to the waterman.

–George Steiner, Annapolis