Tell MD Legislators: Protect Maryland’s Oyster Sanctuaries!

Oysters are jewels of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay. They keep our waters clean and provide critical habitat for other Bay critters. But oysters are the only major public fishery in Maryland not managed by a science-based plan. Despite the clear benefits of oyster sanctuaries, proposals that would open them up for harvest are currently under consideration at the Oyster Advisory Commission. A strawman proposal that was just revealed would open up nearly 1,000 acres of Maryland's best sanctuaries to harvest.

Delegate James Gilchrist has introduced a bill (HB924) that would prevent the alteration of any existing oyster sanctuary boundaries until a stock assessment—a study of the oyster population—is complete in 2018. The ongoing stock assessment will provide information on the value of oyster sanctuaries and ensure that Maryland is making decisions about where we can harvest oysters based on science. It’s good fisheries management to keep existing boundaries in place until this assessment is done—and it's common sense.

This bill passed with bipartisan support in the House. Now, we need your help to get it through the Senate. Take action right now and ask your State Senators to support House Bill 924! Tell them that oyster sanctuaries must remain closed to harvest until a science-based plan can be created.  



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