We’re Banking on the Wrong Oyster
Dear Bay Weekly:
Your editorial on the hope for oysters [Hunting Hope for Oysters on Troubled Reefs: Vol. xv, No 40: Oct. 4] is troubling. Why are the state of Maryland and the federal government dragging their feet on the ariakensis oyster?
First we need to get away from reporting that it is an Asian oyster. It is not an Asian oyster. Yes, the original strain is from China, but that was a long time ago. Crassostrea ariakensis has been in this country for many years. It started in Oregon and has been in Virginia for over 10 years. So maybe we need to stop scaring the public away from the Oregon-Virginia oyster by calling it an Asian oyster and begin a fresh start.
It is a fact that the state of Maryland and the federal government are not going to solve the disease problem with native oysters, Crassostrea virginica. Guess what? The Oregon-Virginia oyster is disease resistant. What more needs to be known?
Some in the Bay community would like to see a moratorium on oyster harvesting. This would be disastrous. Oyster bars need cultivation. There is a quasi-moratorium now in a lot of areas that were once very productive: Magothy River, Severn River, upper South River, West and Rhodes rivers and Herring Bay on down the entire Calvert County shoreline. There has been almost zero harvesting in these areas for 20 to 25 years. Why are no oysters growing there? Disease, not harvesting is the answer.
The ariakensis oyster in the waters has been sterile, so why are we wasting time on redundant studies? The scientists (grant guzzlers) can easily scare the public and study something for an eternity if we let them. It is time to shift focus on the Oregon-Virginia oyster and not waste any more of our hard-earned tax money on native oyster restoration. I am not saying give up entirely on the native oyster, but a shift of focus needs to take place here.
Kenny Keen, Dunkirk
Editor’s note: Keen is a waterman and former staffer at Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Seeking Low-Lying Cemeteries
Dear Bay Weekly:
The Anne Arundel County Genealogical Society is in the process of documenting all tombstone inscriptions in county cemeteries, to be published in a multi-volume book. This work has become more critical in light of reportedly rising waters along our shoreline. The Shady Side peninsula, in particular, could be under five feet of water in the next 100 years.
We are aware of most churches and many family cemeteries in the Shady Side area, but we hope your readers/members would be willing to help us find any we have missed.
Shady Side cemeteries for which we have inscriptions: Avery family; Centenary UMC; Crandell; Dennis; Ebenezer AME/St. Paul; Hallock; Hartge; Junifer/Jenifer; Parish-Mace; Scott; St. John’s Episcopal; St. Matthew’s Methodist; Norris/Dent Road.
Of course, the Society would be delighted to learn of any other private/family cemeteries in our county.
Anne Arundel County Genealogical Society, Vfirstname.lastname@example.org