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Maryland Manual, 1932
Volume 149, Page 54   View pdf image (33K)
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Conservation now seems to be on a solid foundation. During the
past year the supply was equal to the demand for oysters, fish and
crabs. The oyster business shows an increase of 250,000 bushels over
and above the season of 1930-31, with a proportionate increase in the
number of persons engaged in the industry.

The increase in the oyster supply has been due to extensive shell-
planting by the Department, and the enforcement of the cull law. The
next few years will reap the benefit of the legislation of 1931, which
closed certain waters against the catching of oysters by dredge. The
Department anticipates an increase of half a million bushels of oysters
this coming season, 1932-33, if the demand for this seafood is normal.

The Department is planting yearly on an average of one million
bushels of shells, on which it has been fortunate in having a very good
catch of spat each year for three successive years.

In 1928, 13,338,516 soft crabs and peelers and 160,775 barrels of
hard crabs were caught in Maryland waters. In 1931, there were
17,256,373 soft crabs and peelers and 296,038 barrels of hard crabs
marketed. Prior to the passage of cooperative laws by Virginia and
Maryland (notably the sponge crab law in 1926), there was a marked
decline in the crab production of Chesapeake Bay. The U. S. Bureau of
Fisheries report for 1924 shows but 29,000,000 pounds of crabs taken
in the entire Bay. In 1931 this figure had increased to 68,000,000
pounds for the same area.

While we have not the entire statistics on the production of fish,
rapid strides are being made by the State Seafood Auditor, in coopera-
tion with the U. S. Bureau of Fisheries and the reports from fisher-
men. Unfortunately, shad in Maryland waters have not shown an
increase in as marked a degree as crabs and oysters. In 1928, there
were 1,212,490 pounds of shad marketed, as compared with 1,467,651
pounds in 1931. It is somewhat early to report the number of shad
taken during the spring season of 1932, but it is encouraging to know
that the Department's spawn takers gathered more shad eggs for propa-
gation purposes this year than for sometime past. The same cannot be
said, however, of yellow perch, as our collection of eggs from the Severn
River hatchery this spring was not as successful as in a number of
past seasons. The effects of the 1930-31 drought, the Department
believes, is responsible for the decline in yellow perch production at this
particular station.

Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

During the latter part of 1931, the Chesapeake Biological Labora-
tory, which was erected on a site overlooking the Patuxent River and
Chesapeake Bay on Solomon's Island, was completed. This laboratory,
which was formally opened in June, 1932, will afford a wild life
research and study center, where facts tending toward a fuller apprecia-
tion of nature may be gathered and disseminated. Formal class work


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Maryland Manual, 1932
Volume 149, Page 54   View pdf image (33K)
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