Rear view of a boat full of farm-raised oysters destined for sanctuary planting as the result of the Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration (SOAR) program.

ORP was proud to support a second round of oyster plantings as part of the Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration (SOAR) program, a collaboration between The Nature Conservancy, The PEW Charitable Trusts, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Over four days in late May and early June, we collected 400,000 oysters from 19 oyster farmers, planting approximately 200,000 on a sanctuary in the Nanticoke River, and 100,000 each on sanctuaries in Eastern Bay and the St. Mary’s River.

Chesapeake Bay oyster farmers have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. To give the industry a boost, SOAR pays farmers for oysters deemed “oversized” for the raw bar market. The unique program aims to help avoid a potential collapse in oyster prices while contributing to Chesapeake Bay oyster reef restoration efforts – a win-win for local oyster farmers and for our beloved Bay!

SOAR is active in seven states across New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and Washington state. Though this program is helping, we encourage you to support Chesapeake Bay oyster growers by buying their products. To find a farm near you, visit: https://oysterrecovery.org/oyster-farms.