Your oyster friends will need more attention this month, as this begins their intensive growth period.  They may need more frequent cleaning, with  DNR suggesting that once a week would be best.  Your location should dictate the frequency.  Some areas are more prone to silt, particularly if your cages are in a sheltered cove with little current or boat wakes to agitate the water.  You should be guided by what you see on the cages, if the silt is heavy then more frequent cleaning may be needed.

Your Oyster Committee has been working with MGO Coordinators on other watersheds, going to meetings with DNR, and creating a forum for MGO Coordinators to voice their views to DNR.  At the most recent meeting, attended by Don Carren,  DNR agreed to meet regularly with us to help resolve some key issues impacting the location of oyster reefs.

Please plan to collect and plant your oysters on the “Tracers Hollow” SRA Oyster Sanctuary in June.  We have established an “Oyster Planting Event” on Saturday, June 1st to gather and plant as many of our cage oysters as possible.  Coordinators should help as many volunteers as possible to participate by recruiting boaters to support this effort.  Volunteers will work from private boats to pick up the oysters from the various docks and transport them to the sanctuary at “Traces Hollow”.  This being the third annual “SRA Oyster Planting”, we hope many oyster growers will come to plant between 2:00PM & 3:30PM, yet everyone should arrange to have your spat planted on the sanctuary in June. 

The June 1st event is an excellent opportunity for increasing awareness of the MGO Program and to recruit more volunteer growers.  If you have time and inclination to help with the PR efforts leading up to that day, and particularly while we are on the water at the Traces Hollow sanctuary, please email me about your interests.

Another reminder about the June plantings.  When you pick up the oysters (probably by boat), leave the cages on the grower’s dock for reseeding later in the season.  The empty cages should be cleaned and stored out of the water, until spat is distributed in September. 

Bob Whitcomb

Chair, SRA Oyster Committee