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"Although the native oyster is an extremely resilient species, able to tolerate wide variations in salinity and temperature, it has not been immune to the pressures of disease, overharvesting, and pollution. As a result, native oyster populations in Chesapeake Bay are at less than 1% of historic levels. This tremendous decline in the oyster population has dramatically changed the ecology of the Bay as well as the oyster fishery and the cultural tradition of watermen who harvest seafood from the Bay for a living. One of the responses to this decline has been attempts to restore oyster populations."
"In 2001, when we set out to revive our grandfather’s oyster company, the Chesapeake Bay had just recorded its lowest oyster harvest in history. Nearly all of the oysters being processed in the Bay were being trucked in from the Gulf of Mexico. But for a few enterprising individuals, the industry was headed for an utter collapse. So our mission seemed clear: to resurrect the native Bay oyster and put it back on the map. Just a little over a decade later, Virginia is seeing harvest tallies not witnessed in a generation, and she now leads the entire East Coast in oyster production."
"...As we bobbed on the water, Merry and Horne (they were the first farmers to join Bennett when he started growing oysters) discussed the solar panels Merry had just installed on his own oyster float; he uses the energy to power a motorized pump to wash his crop. Sustainability and oyster farming go hand-in-hand: The work is low-tech, requiring little more than a few boats and pumps, and the oysters themselves filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. The oysters now planted in Duxbury Bay filter the entire waterway completely once every nine days, making it a thriving environment for wild species like striped bass, green crabs and razor clams. 'We like to call ourselves carbon negative,' Bennett often jokes."
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