Seafood Watch, a well-known consumer guide about sustainable seafood, has released its latest draft and is telling people to avoid eating wild-caught oysters that come from the Chesapeake Bay.
The draft shows the bay as being overfished and poorly managed. Because the current abundance levels in the Chesapeake Bay overall are still low, Seafood Watch considers eastern oyster abundance in Virginia as a high concern.
Why Virginians are confused
Virginians are receiving mixed information from reputable sources. The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science told Bay Journal the draft applied an overly broad and uneven brush when rating the bay.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources also took issue with the findings. The organization said no one contacted them from the aquarium about the bay’s condition The department said the information is outdated and misinterpreted. The department stood behind the state’s oyster management, saying it’s been reviewed favorably by outside scientists.
In 2018, Seafood Watch rated oysters from Maryland and Virginia as a good choice. Now the consumer guide is saying something different.
What are Virginians to conclude?
What are Virginians to think based on the outdated and misinterpretation from the Seafood Watch's recent draft?
Oyster Recovery Partnership says eating Chesapeake oysters are not only safe to eat but they are also beneficial for you to eat and good for the region's economy.
In February 2023, Virginia's evaluation found that oyster stock was at its best condition in a generation, and the season was extended for the first time since 1988. Virginia's total wild oyster harvests have remained stable at around 600,000 bushels for the past several years.