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Research Archive: Wild Oyster Population Study

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Cathy Drew,Executive Director, The River Project

The population of wild oysters under Pier 26 is increasing. Mapping of these oysters has been conducted each year since 2004. In 2001, 30 oysters were found in the intertidal zone under a section of Pier 26. In 2002, interns found 37 live wild oysters and 31 dead shells in that study area (approximately 400 square feet). In 2003, 70 live wild oysters and 60 dead were found there, of which 15 were identified as the same oysters from 2002. Results indicate an increase in the population again in 2004, to 149 oysters, of which 31 were alive and 118 dead. In 2005 we plan to bring in divers to locate and map oysters below the intertidal zone in the study area, and interns will continue to survey and map the oysters of the intertidal area. Each year the number of individuals has increased, mortality has also increased, and mean size has decreased. This could be due to a greater number of young oysters, the particularly harsh winter, effects of ferry wakes, or other as yet unidentified causes.