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Independent Advisory Panel Named to Review Oyster Research
ANNAPOLIS — Demonstrating his commitment to thoroughly evaluate options to restore oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary C. Ronald Franks today announced the appointment of an independent advisory panel to consider research currently being conducted on native and nonnative oysters.
The seven-member panel represents a broad range of non-partisan, scientific expertise and philosophies about marine resources. Its purpose is to assist Maryland and Virginia in reviewing the adequacy of research data and risk assessments when they become available this spring, likely February or March. If in their view, the science is lacking, and/or questions are unanswered, the necessary time to complete the work will be recommended.
“From the beginning of the EIS process, we have regularly brought all the partners together, kept them informed on the progress and solicited their inputs,” Secretary Franks said. “The insight of these industry-recognized experts will help ensure that our recommendations to Governor Ehrlich have taken all factors into account.”
“We want to assure the general public as well as the scientific community of our intent and where we stand on the issue of oysters in Maryland,” Franks added. “We’ve said all along that this is an open process, and creating a panel like this validates our efforts and demonstrates the integrity of our process. As always, any decision will be based on sound science and what is in the best interests of the Bay and those who depend on it.”
"Virginia fully supports the appointment of an independent review panel to assist Virginia and Maryland to make a careful and deliberate decision on measures to restore oysters to Chesapeake Bay,” said Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources W. Tayloe Murphy, Jr. “We look forward to receiving the panel's advice on this important part of our joint Bay restoration efforts."
An Environmental Impact Statement is currently underway to review eight options for oyster restoration in Maryland. The options include:
A preliminary report on the status of the EIS is expected this Spring; The panel will assess the research done to-date and advise the states on whether or not that research is sufficient to make an informed decision on the future of the Chesapeake Bay’s oysters.
- No Action
- Expand native Oyster Restoration Program
- Native Oyster Harvest Moratorium
- Native Oyster Aquaculture
- Sterile Nonnative Oyster Species Aquaculture
- Introduce & Propagate an Alternative Oyster Species other than C. ariakensis or an Alternative Strain of C. ariakensis
- Introduction of a reproducing Oregon-strain of Crassostrea ariakensis and Discontinuation of Crassostrea virginica Restoration Programs
- Combination of Alternatives
The members are:
Berrigan and Anderson were members of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Nonnative Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay; Anderson was Co-Chair of that Committee. They will provide the continuity of the NRC recommendations along with the independent review by other members of the panel.
- Brian J. Rothschild, Ph.D., (Chairperson) Dean, Intercampus Graduate School of Marine Sciences and Technology, University of Massachusetts, Director, School for Marine Science and Technology
- James Anderson, Professor, Marine Resource Economics, Department of Environment and Natural Resource Economics, University of Rhode Island
- Maurice Heral, General Scientific Director of French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea IFREMER
- Eric Powell, Director of the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University
- Mike Roman, Professor and Director, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
- Roger L. Mann, Professor of Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
- Mark Berrigan, Chief of the Bureau of Aquaculture Development, Division of Aquaculture, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
At Tuesday’s announcement, Secretary Franks also stressed that:
For complete information on Maryland’s efforts to research oyster options, visit the DNR web site InFocus page: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/dnrnews/infocus/non-native_oyster.asp
- The research currently underway was recommended by the NRC 18 months ago.
- We are conducting 12 research efforts to gain the missing research necessary to be able to select from eight alternatives, involving both native and non-native oysters.
- No decision has been made on whether or not to introduce C. ariakensis, or any non-native oyster, into the Bay.
- Our decisions will be based on sound science and analysis.
- We will NOT proceed if there are unacceptable risks.
Independent Advisory Panel for the Environmental Impact Statement
to Evaluate Oyster Restoration Alternatives
Name Affiliation Expertise Brian Rothschild (Chairperson) Director, School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Population dynamics, biological oceanography, fisheries management, and natural resources policy Jim Anderson1 Professor in the Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics at the University of Rhode Island Fisheries and aquaculture economics Maurice Heral Director, Scientific Research, IFREMER, France Shellfish biology, aquaculture, non-native introductions, and fishery management Roger Mann Director, Marine Research and Advisory Services, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences Oyster biology/ecology Eric Powell Director, Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, Rutgers University Shellfish physiology and parasite/disease processes and in numerical modeling and statistical analysis Mike Roman Director, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies Zooplankton ecology and biological oceanography. Mark Berrigan2 Chief of the Bureau of Aquaculture Development, Division of Aquaculture, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Aquaculture, shellfish restoration and multi-dimensional resource management. 1 - National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, Committee Co-chair on Nonnative Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. 2 - National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Nonnative Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to Maryland citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 435,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, as well as Maryland's wildlife and fishery species for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, the department manages natural, historic and cultural resources that attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov