The Maryland Oyster Industry And Its Decline Throughout History

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In The Oyster Question, Christine Keiner utilizes environmental, agricultural, political, and social history perspectives to investigate the Maryland oyster industry and its decline throughout history to answer the question if the oyster industry should be privatized. She offers opposing viewpoints from scientists, politicians and local community members. She has managed to connect scientific history with environmental history with local history to bring together a comprehensive overview of the problems both past and present of the Maryland oyster industry. I think that Christine keener does an excellent job, not without its flaws, of laying bare how science and preservation is necessary to be understood as local phenomena, manipulated by…show more content…
After this distress erupted Maryland instituted a new law that only residents could harvest oysters. So the northerners moved south. When the refrigerated rail cars came onto the scene, it changed the oyster game. Oysters could now be enjoyed all over the country and Americans loved them, oysters went as far west as the Rocky Mountains! The oyster business was booming. In 1870 one fifth of the men in the entire fishing industry were Chesapeake Bay oystermen. There were twenty-six thousand fishermen and processors employed in the Chesapeake oyster industry. The bay then had around forty-two thousand boats, just for oystering. On average, they were harvesting fifteen million pounds of oysters a year. In 1885, twenty nine million bushels were harvested. An increased demand led to increases in harvests. The bay quickly began to deplete. From 1865 to 1959 there was a series of disputes that erupted among the various groups of oystermen. Sometimes violent, these disputes caused the government to intervene with a newly created Maryland Oyster Navy. To help regulate the oyster industry a series of steps were taken in the 1880s: a general license system, the oyster police, the Winslow oyster survey, and numerous road and canal expansion projects. The 1890s brought decline in the oyster industry, due to both demand and the depletion of the bay, though by the mid 1900s it was fairly stable. This was helped in part by the Hanan oyster culture

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