Shellfish aquaculture — growing oysters, mussels, and clams for consumption — provides environmental and economic benefits to the Chesapeake Bay and is a fast-growing industry in Maryland. From 2013 to 2018, Maryland's shellfish aquaculture industry increased 24%, and it's still growing!
Aquaculture provides employment opportunities for Maryland’s coastal communities and supports a wide variety of economic sectors from wholesale trade to food service. It takes an average of two to three years for farmed oysters to reach market size. While they grow, they provide beneficial ecosystem services like water filtration, nutrient reduction, and habitat creation, plus have a low carbon footprint compared to other protein sources.
ORP and our partners offer assistance to shellfish leaseholders in producing, managing and promoting their oyster farms through a variety of programs.