The fabled watermen of the Chesapeake Bay have just finished digging their own grave, and they're taking the oysters with them.
This is a sad story that didn't have to be this way. Oysters used to be so numerous that they cleaned the Bay every 3 days, and oyster reefs were a hazard to navigation. But overfishing has removed most of the oysters and destroyed the oyster shell reefs necessary to provide a good home for young oysters.
The oyster catch is now down around 1/1000 of the rich plunder of a century ago, and pessimists outnumber optimists. Oytster farming, once a heresy, is now the most likely hope for an oyster revival.
It's enough to make an oyster lover cry. Where did the oyster-loving watermen go so wrong? Why did the government allow it to happen? Why were we the people asleep at the wheel?
hat tip: Shifting Baselines