CALVERT COUNTY, Md. – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, recently met with oyster farmers and toured Morgan State University’s innovative Patuxent Environmental & Aquatic Research Laboratory (PEARL), where a reinvigorated oyster hatchery could help fuel the expansion of Maryland’s promising oyster aquaculture industry.
“Maryland’s oyster aquaculture industry holds great promise for providing delicious oysters, good jobs in rural areas and significant environmental benefits, and I am proud to continue fighting for its growth,” said Senator Cardin. “The PEARL oyster hatchery is poised to begin providing Maryland’s oyster farmers a steady and ready supply of larvae, helping farmers to overcome one of the key challenges to establishing and growing oyster farms. The lab also provided the perfect backdrop for my latest conversation with oyster farmers from Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, whose entrepreneurial spirits are matched only by their enthusiasm for extending Maryland’s reputation for first-class seafood.”
Prior to visiting PEARL, Senator Cardin visited Patuxent Seafood Co. in Broomes Island, Md., a multi-generational family-owned and operated small business that specializes in farm-raised oysters and blue crabs. Senator Cardin met with owners Andy and Jill Buck and learned more about the challenges inherent in making a living on and from the water.
“It’s clear that the year-round harvests made possible by oyster aquaculture are proving to be a vital part of the modern formula for success on Maryland’s working waterfronts,” said Senator Cardin. “I’m excited to see the direct benefits that oyster farming is having on rural small businesses, but I’m also excited to hear that the environmental benefits of establishing oyster farming operations are so immediately apparent. The Bucks are seeing the best water quality in recent memory around their oyster farms, and that’s leading to new seagrasses taking root. They’re healing the Chesapeake Bay and making a living at the same time, which is an incredible win-win scenario for us all.”