According to a recent VMRC staff memo, “The Virginia Oyster Resource is currently in the best condition it has been in a generation.”
The commission went along with the staff recommendation of extending the harvesting season by 10 days: “If these changes are adopted, it is likely that the harvest of public oysters will top 300,000 bushels for the first time since the 1987-88 season. It should be noted that after the 1987-88 season, the oyster fishery crashed, and public harvest did not exceed 200,000 bushels for 25 years and is only recently beginning to show signs of sustained recovery.”
The improvement of populations over the years can be attributed to a variety of factors, including planting oyster shells in waterways, which baby oysters can attach to, and turn into spat. In addition, natural selection resulted in stronger oysters after weaker ones were wiped out by diseases.
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