Status in some regions appears to be stable or increasing. Managers have undertaken restoration efforts in many regions. Because oysters are consumed raw, additional regulations that are designed to protect consumers also help to limit removals. Oysters are heavily aquacultured and so reintroduction is not problematic.
Oysters have declined in many areas of it’s range. Some historical regions are now devoid of wild oysters (Mid-Atlantic and New England). Management is region and state-by-state. There is no concerted management plan. There is no formal stock status, reference points, or analytic assessment either in total or by region.
Last updated on 5 August 2016
Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators
1. Start a fishery improvement project to address sustainability issues in this fishery. For advice on starting a FIP, see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Communicate to fishery managers that there are sustainability issues in this fishery that may be affecting the sale of products, and request that they comprehensively evaluate and address such issues.
Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
1. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Work with other suppliers and buyers on a pre-competitive basis to start a supplier roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.
A formal stock assessment is not conducted in most parts of the range. Stock is most often assessed by areal mapping of oyster reefs and by examination of oyster density and health in those reef systems (Beck, et al. 2011; Baggett, et al 2014; Campbell, 2012).
Scientific advice is limited and region specific (Campbell, 2012). It usually consists of recommendations on min size, closed areas and seasons.
Reference points are not used as there are no analytic assessments for this species through most of it’s range.
Last updated on 9 May 2015
Reference points are not used as there are no analyticassessments for this species through most of it’s range.
Oysters are stable and increasing in the Gulf of Mexico due to regulation and restoration efforts (Campbell, 2012). In other portions of it’s range abundance is in decline (Beck, et al. 2011 & Baggett, et al 2014). Overall stock status is thought to be low: due to harvest, habitat loss, and disease. Oysters are extirpated in areas of the Mid-Atlantic and New England.
Gulf of Mexico oysters appear to be improving, while oysters on the Atlantic coast are in decline(Beck, et al. 2011; Baggett, et al 2014; Campbell, 2012). There is some improvement, however in the VA portion of the Chesapeake Bay (VIMS, 2008)
Managers generally follow scientific advice. Often managers use close areas, seasons, and minimum sizes to control effort. Because oysters are consumed raw, additional management measures are in place to prevent shellfish poisoning (Campbell, 2012). Managers also have been setting regulations to promote oyster reef restoration (Baggett, et al 2014).
There are no formal recovery plans in effect, but state and federal government are working on oyster restoration in areas of the Mid-Atlantic and in the Gulf of Mexico (Baggett, 2014).
Compliance by harvesters is high, particularly with regulations that reduce the prevalence and risk of illness from consumption (Campbell, 2012)