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Native Oyster Health

A new oyster health indicator will be developed in the future.

Importance

Oysters are a valuable species because they improve water quality, provide habitat for aquatic life and contribute to the region’s economy.

Oysters filter water as they feed, which increases water clarity. It is estimated that at their historic population peak, oysters filtered all of the Bay’s water in less than one week. It takes about one year for the current population to do so.

Oysters have also constituted one of the Bay’s most valuable commercial fisheries for more than a century. Pollution, historic overharvesting, and the diseases MSX and Dermo have caused the oyster population to decline severely.

Goal

The CBP previously had a goal to achieve a tenfold increase in native oysters based on 1994 levels.

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