Oysters: Only eat what we grow

May 12, 2011

Your editorial "A sour oyster stew" (May 11) on the oyster poaching problem justifies the legislature's recent passage of bills to increase the authority of the Natural Resources Police.

One proposed enforcement solution is to install GPS tracking devices on all commercial fishing vessels so their position can be verified.

The equipment would probably be expensive, and if such a system is adopted it should be funded by the commercial oyster industry, not by the Department of Natural Resources.

If the oyster fishery can't be managed in due to cost or lack of enforcement capability, it should be discontinued.

That wouldn't deprive Marylanders of the tasty bivalve, or commercial oyster harvesters of a livelihood, because both goals can be achieved by an expanding aquaculture industry, as has occurred in many other areas of the world.

Gov. Martin O'Malley's oyster restoration program envisions a thriving oyster aquaculture industry, and the General Assembly recently enacted enabling legislation.

Let's leave the oysters in their sanctuaries to restore the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay, and grow the ones we eat through aquaculture.

Ken Lewis, Baltimore

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