CHESAPEAKE BAY FOUNDATION

Environmental Education

Resource Protection and Restoration

OFFICERS

Wayne A. Mills

Chairman

T. Gaylon Layfield, III

Vice Chairman

Burks Lapham

Secretary

Aileen Bowdoin Train

Treasurer

William C. Baker

President

EX OFFICIO TRUSTEES

Governor James S. Gilmore, III

Governor Parris N. Glendening

Governor Mark Schweiker

Mayor Anthony Williams

Hal C.B. Clagett – Clagett Trustee

Joanne S. Berkley – Bay Care Chapter

Maurice P. Lynch, Ph.D. – York Chapter

TRUSTEES

Myrtha L. Allen

Donald F. Boesch

George W. Brown, Ph.D.

D. Keith Campbell

J. Carter Fox

Robert M. Freeman

Alan R. Griffith

Jack S. Griswold

Susan Taylor Hansen

Edward M. Holland

Virginia R. Holton

H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest

Janice L. Marshall

H. Turney McKnight

Philip Merrill

W. Tayloe Murphy, Jr.

Blaine T. Phillips

George G. Phillips

Robert M. Pinkard

Arnold I. Richman

Marie W. Ridder

Willcox Ruffin, Jr. M.D.

Truman T. Semans

Edmund A. Stanley, Jr.

Thomas H. Stoner

James C. Wheat, III

John R. Whitmore

HONORARY TRUSTEES

Louisa C. Duemling

T. Marshall Duer, Jr.

C.A. Porter Hopkins

Charles McC. Mathias

Godfrey A. Rockefeller

Russell C. Scott

William W. Warner

Michael Watson

January 9, 2002

Ms. Morgan Gopnik,

Director Ocean Studies Board

National Academy of Sciences

2001 Wisconsin Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20007

Dear Ms. Gopnik:

On behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, I want to formally request that the Ocean Studies Board undertake at its earliest convenience a study of the oyster Crassostrea ariakensis and its proposed introduction into Chesapeake Bay. Recent trials with this non-native species have suggested it would thrive in Chesapeake Bay waters, and while industry support for its use is strong and growing, little is known about the ecological risks that an introduction would carry. Most institutions, agencies and oyster interests in the Chesapeake area agree that a responsible resolution of this issue should start with a thorough and independent technical review. The National Academy of Sciences is best suited to carry out this work.

Oyster restoration is considered one of the most important aspects of the broad effort to save the Chesapeake Bay. Substantial public support exists for various programs to rebuild reef habitat and restock the native oyster, Crassostrea virginica. However, C. virginica experiences high disease mortality in much of the Bay and will require many years of stocking and selective pressure to develop disease resistance before large reef populations are realized. Recent research by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science suggests that C. ariakensis grows faster and survives disease better than the native oyster. As a result, many in the oyster industry advocate using this non-native oyster to support either an aquaculture industry based on sterile triploids or a public fishery based on naturalized populations of reproductive animals released into the Bay. The potential economic benefits are great for this depressed industry, and pressure on public officials to move in this direction is building. Indeed, the prospect of a hardier oyster as a tool for Bay restoration is tantalizing.

Philip Merrill Environmental Center

6 Herndoii Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland 21403 • 410-268-8816, fax 410-268-687



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