RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - With Virginia oyster stocks on the rise, so is poaching and that has caught the attention of regulators.
The public oyster season opened Tuesday and the Virginia Marine Police are taking aim at what they call an epidemic of poaching. Last month, for instance, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission revoked the fishing licenses of five commercial oyster harvesters who pleaded guilty to poaching by overharvesting.
Marine Police will seek out oyster poachers by air, land and sea. The force has dedicated officers to seek out offenders as a top priority.
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has lowered 25 concrete oyster reef balls into the Lafayette River in Norfolk.
Oyster harvesting has been banned on the Lafayette since the 1920s because of contamination from industries and storm water runoff. The work Tuesday is part of an initiative to restore the Lafayette to health.
Reef balls are dome-shaped concrete structures that provide a surface on which swimming oyster larvae can attach. Balls are seeded with live baby oysters called "spat." They also provide the benefit of shoreline stabilization.