According to a release by The Virginia Marine Resources Commission, a “limited entry policy” on oyster hand scrapes and dredges has been approved, that will take about half of the current license holders out of the state’s public oyster fishery. The policy, as approved last week, will eliminate licenses for those oystermen who either did not report any harvest or who worked less than 20 days in the 2013–14 or 2014–15 seasons. The reason, according to the VMRC is simple. They say if an oysterman did not report a harvest or worked only 20 days in either of those years, they were not really serious about it anyway. VMRC officials are predicting the upcoming 2015–16 public oyster season harvest to be 65% of what it was last year. They claim that research has shown a poor spawn year for the upcoming season. The oyster season opens in October but the limited entry policy does not go into effect until January 1, 2016. The new limited entry ruling does not impact the use of hand oyster tongs or those who oyster on public rock with patent oyster tongs.
HUDGINS, Va. (AP) — A new study says there’s a possible link between oyster larvae deaths at a hatchery last year and rehabilitation work on the Gwynn’s Island Bridge in Mathews County.
The Daily Press reports that the study by the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences found elevated levels of zinc and other metal contaminants in the water. The water flows in the direction of Oyster Seeds Holdings LLC on Gwynn’s Island.
But the study couldn’t determine what caused the oyster larvae to die.
Hatchery owner Mike Congrove says production dropped to 150 million oyster larvae last year. The hatchery produces more than 1 billion oyster larvae in a typical year.
Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kelly Hannon says the study shows the need for more coordination to protect the environment.