Oysters are filter feeders. They pump water over their gills and extract small particles of organic material on which they feed. It has been estimated that at the end of the 19th century, oysters could filter the entire volume of water in the Chesapeake Bay in four or five days. Today it takes more than a year. The Bay needs more oysters, and not only because they are good to eat. We can all help to improve this important commercial fishery and help clear up the water in the Bay and especially in our local waterways.
If you own waterfront property or have a friend who does, you can "garden" oysters. Not only can you grow a delicious and nutritious food, but also you can do something that is fun for the whole family and help to cleanse the water at the same time. If you don't like to eat oysters, they can be donated to help populate one of the reef "sanctuaries" that are being constructed partly with public donations. Oyster gardening workshops are held each fall. We encourage you to look for announcements in the local papers and attend, even if you just want to learn more.