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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A new report says Chesapeake Bay water quality has improved, but there's been a decline in fisheries.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation released its biennial State of the Bay report Monday. It gave the nation's largest estuary a D-plus grade overall. That's unchanged from 2012.

The report cites improvements in water clarity, oysters and underwater grasses. But declines were seen in scores for blue crabs and rockfish.

CBF President William Baker took special aim at the Eastern Shore where phosphorus levels have actually gone up in some areas.

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The tongers were out yesterday to begin the oyster season.

But it has apparently gotten off to a slow start.

At Harrison’s Oyster Company on Tilghman Island last year the buckets were full.

This year Buddy Harrison told WBOC they had only nine that were full.

He said he had expected there would be at least a hundred by the afternoon.

But he told the television station that it could take a couple of days for things to settle down as watermen scramble to find out where the good oyster beds.

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Phillips Seafood held a party yesterday for its 100th birthday at its 20th street restaurant in Ocean City to honor the establishment of the A. E. Phillips seafood packing plant in 1914.

CEO Steve Phillips recalled his maternal grandfather was a waterman on Hooper's Island, who would take him crabbing and oystering when he was a boy.

The 67-year-old Phillips told the celebration that the Phillips family owes its success to Maryland watermen and the Chesapeake Bay.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

CAMBRIDGE, Md. (AP) - An artificial oyster reef made up of 300 concrete balls has been completed in the Choptank River.

The reef was finished Saturday in the Bill Burton Fishing Pier adjacent to the Fredrick C. Malkus Bridge in Cambridge.    

The two foot-tall igloo-like reef balls were set with baby oysters, or spat, by submerging them in large tanks of Chesapeake Bay water.   

The reef balls were deployed throughout the summer.                                                                                                           

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - With Virginia oyster stocks on the rise, so is poaching and that has caught the attention of regulators.

The public oyster season opened Tuesday and the Virginia Marine Police are taking aim at what they call an epidemic of poaching. Last month, for instance, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission revoked the fishing licenses of five commercial oyster harvesters who pleaded guilty to poaching by overharvesting.

Marine Police will seek out oyster poachers by air, land and sea. The force has dedicated officers to seek out offenders as a top priority.


NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has lowered 25 concrete oyster reef balls into the Lafayette River in Norfolk.

Oyster harvesting has been banned on the Lafayette since the 1920s because of contamination from industries and storm water runoff. The work Tuesday is part of an initiative to restore the Lafayette to health.

Reef balls are dome-shaped concrete structures that provide a surface on which swimming oyster larvae can attach. Balls are seeded with live baby oysters called "spat." They also provide the benefit of shoreline stabilization.


Crabbing season could be getting off to a slow start this year.

Watermen say they generally see crabs by March…as the oyster season wraps up.

But watermen say they have not.

In Cambridge Waterman Jason Mills told WBOC that last year had been a good season…but that he and others were concerned about what this year might bring.

If the number of crabs does not pick up customers are expected to pay top dollar for the Eastern Shore delicacy. 



        ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's Department of Natural Resources

says oysters are surviving at the highest rate since 1985.

     The department says results of its fall oyster survey show 92

percent of oysters were found alive in samples taken baywide. The

two-month survey sampled 263 oyster bars throughout the bay.

     While heavy rains last year caused high mortality in some areas,

the department says lower salt levels throughout the bay helped cut

diseases that have devastated oyster populations. DNR says the high