Eight Million Oysters Planted Using Funds from the M/V Ever Forward Cargo Ship Grounding

On-water shot fo boat loaded with oysters. Cloudy sky background.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Oyster Recovery Partnership Plant Eight Million Oysters using Funds from the M/V Ever Forward

Cargo Ship Grounded in Anne Arundel County Waters in March 2022

ANNAPOLIS, MD, April 10, 2024 – The Oyster Recovery Partnership today planted eight million juvenile oysters on sanctuary reefs in Herring Bay in Anne Arundel County using funds received from the 2022 grounding of container ship M/V Ever Forward. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) contracted the Oyster Recovery Partnership to conduct the planting. This initiative marks the beginning of a comprehensive restoration effort expected to span two years.

The Ever Forward grounding near the mouth of the Patapsco River impacted 14 acres of Chesapeake Bay bottom, including 11.5 acres within the boundary of a natural oyster bar. The ship’s owner, Evergreen Marine Corp., agreed to pay the state $676,000 to mitigate the damage done to the oyster grounds. DNR selected Herring Bay sanctuary reef, just south of Annapolis, as the site of the initial planting. Additional plantings on public oyster reefs in Anne Arundel County are scheduled to occur along with the Herring Bay sanctuary plantings.

“It’s exciting to kick off another oyster restoration season in Maryland by working with the Oyster Recovery Partnership to add more oysters to Herring Bay,” said DNR Secretary Josh Kurtz. “The plantings funded by the ship grounding settlement will help bolster the state’s oyster population, which has been increasing in part due to strong spat sets and ongoing restoration. This project will also serve as a good example of how oyster plantings can benefit the ecosystem and the economy since oysters will be added to a protected sanctuary as well as public fishing areas.”

The Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP), an Annapolis-based nonprofit organization founded in 1994, helps execute Maryland’s oyster restoration strategy. To date, ORP has planted more than 11.5 billion oysters in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. “ORP is proud to be selected by Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources to help offset the damage done by the Ever Forward in 2022. The eight million oysters ORP planted today in Herring Bay will help restore the Bay by filtering water and providing critical habitat for other species,” said Ward Slacum, Executive Director of ORP.

Today’s planting began at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) Horn Point Lab oyster hatchery in Cambridge, Maryland. The juvenile oysters, known as “spat-on-shell,” were loaded aboard the planting vessel Poppa Francis and transported across the Chesapeake to Herring Bay, where they were overboarded on the sites selected by DNR.

The Evergreen Marine settlement is expected to eventually plant as many as 150 million spat-on-shell on 41 acres of Anne Arundel County waters. Approximately 60 million will be planted on sanctuary reefs; the balance will be planted on public reefs open to commercial harvests.



  • Lynn Fegley, Director of Fishing and Boating Services, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, [email protected], (O) 410.260.8285.
  • Ward Slacum, Executive Director, Oyster Recovery Partnership, [email protected], (O) 410.990.4970 (ext 1015)