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Big Oysters Could Improve Stock in Bay Region

Don Rush

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) - A researcher at William & Mary says that "big, honkin' grandma oysters" could improve the Chesapeake Bay's oyster stock.

Geology Professor Rowan Lockwood says in a university press release that larger, older oysters produce more offspring. And some studies suggest they're more tolerant to disease. 

Lockwood is recommending a change in regulations that would protect the larger, more fertile oysters from harvest. The university says current rules protect the younger, smaller ones. Lockwood also suggests increasing the size and number of oyster sanctuaries in the bay.

Lockwood works in a sub-discipline known as conservation paleontology. She's been studying fossils of the bay's ancient oysters, which grew larger and lived decades longer than today's shellfish.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.