CCA Maryland’s Government Relations Committee (GRC) culminated months of work Tuesday with the presentation of testimony supporting SB 937, the Sustainable Oyster Harvest Act of 2016, before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. CCA’s testimony supported the bill with amendments.
“We have focused much of our attention on this legislation throughout the 2016 session,” reported David Sikorski, GRC chairman. “It calls for management of oysters based on the best available science, the long standing criteria endorsed by CCA.”
“The Chesapeake Bay Oyster Management Plan… provides that the State shall prevent overfishing while attempting to achieve the best and most efficient use of the State’s public oyster fishery through the development and use of the best available estimates of sustainable harvest rates and indicators that would trigger any tightening or loosening of harvest restrictions,” the testimony read.
The bill is crucial to oyster management since Maryland has not yet developed estimates of sustainable harvest rates and indicators. It would require the University of Maryland Center for Environment Science to conduct a study providing that data to the Department of Natural Resources.
“The oyster is the keystone species in the Chesapeake Bay,” CCA MD contended in its testimony. “It is arguably the most value able part of the bay’s ecosystem and provides habitat for a host of aquatic species, as well as vitally important ecosystem services.”
See news release here SB 937 News Release
Read more about written testimony here SB_937_Written_testimony_3_7_16