Eastern oyster won't be part of endangered species list

Digest

Baltimore & Region

November 10, 2005|By TOM PELTON

The federal government is no longer considering listing the Eastern oyster as an endangered species, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said yesterday.

A spokeswoman for NOAA said the agency dropped the idea because the petition to list the oyster, which is native to the Chesapeake Bay, was withdrawn by the Maryland-based environmental consultant who proposed it in January.

The consultant, Wolf-Dieter N. Busch, a fisheries biologist who retired in 1999 after 35 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said he backed off because the proposal was causing fear of a federal crackdown on oyster harvesting in other parts of the country, such as the Gulf of Mexico. His original concern, he said, was the dwindling oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay.

Busch said he also was worried that congressional critics of the Endangered Species Act were using his request as a reason to weaken the act.

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