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Can Oysters Save Chesapeake Bay? – July 10, 2013

Not on their own, scientists say. Their numbers are too low and it’s not clear how much nitrogen they break down

Can oysters clean up the Chesapeake Bay? The question, posed by a group of reporters, resonated at a damp hatchery where new generations of baby oysters were preparing for their next mission: helping to rescue the United States’ largest estuary from decades of overfishing, runoff from manure and synthetic fertilizers, and diseases.

These iconic shellfish, appreciated by food lovers worldwide, have long been considered important contributors to a healthy habitat for fish, crabs, and aquatic plants.

But researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) say that oysters alone may not be enough to clean up the 200-mile long bay, whose picturesque watershed is home to over 17 million people.


by: Antonella Ciancio

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