University of Maryland Extension

Oyster Gardening

In the Chesapeake Bay, the idea of raising oysters in cages or floats for restoring reefs or for
personal consumption has been around at least since the 1990s. In 2008, the state of Maryland launched a Marylanders Grow Oysters program, and in Virginia programs like the Tidewater Oyster Growers Association provide materials and assistance to those interested in raising oysters. In Maryland, most of the oyster seed or “spat” has come from the Horn Point Hatchery at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

To assist those interested in oyster gardening, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science helped develop the Oyster Gardening Program in cooperation with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Maryland Sea Grant, and the Oyster Recovery Partnership. The program brings together experts and citizens to help enhance the Chesapeake Bay system’s stressed oyster populations. The program offers participants:

  • An opportunity to grow oysters, a key species in Chesapeake Bay

  • To learn about the complex ecology of the Bay system

  • To play a hands-on role in oyster restoration in Maryland

The Oyster Gardening Guide will provide you with basic information on setting up and maintaining your oysters in the best manner given the environmental conditions for your location.

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