Oyster poaching in the Chesapeake Bay is a problem for efforts to restore the species, for the folks who depend on the industry and for people who enjoy the tasty creatures.
When the Virginia Marine Police charged 10 Gloucester County watermen with breaking oyster-harvesting rules earlier this month, it was a welcome sign that the state is getting increasingly serious about threats to a devastated oyster population.
As The Pilot's Scott Harper reported, the watermen were charged with 115 violations. The charges were part of a crackdown on oyster poaching, which Jack Travelstead, director of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, has described as an epidemic.
The actual oyster offenses take several forms, from watermen rustling from closed grounds to "oystering at night, harvesting without a license, gathering undersized oysters, and taking oysters from polluted waters." More....