Oyster Harvest

Economic Value (CT & NY)
CT NY
1990 $22,648,802 $4,040,142
1991 $26,718,000 $2,726,272
1992 $45,000,000 $3,114,321
1993 $42,052,920 $2,195,984
1994 $35,254,916 $766,083
1995 $41,353,180 $1,661,027
1996 $28,919,495 $3,412,656
1997 $5,103,618 $2,420,786
1998 $8,978,090 $1,319,903
1999 $1,050,000 $367,201
2000 $4,839,468 $1,215,086
2001 $3,244,510 $2,067,914
2002 $3,012,161 $4,524,130
2003 $2,258,660 $4,028,272
2004 $1,356,310 $3,178,447
2005 $953,050 $1,853,668
2006 $2,205,740 $999,216
2007 $5,142,099 $2,265,203
2008 $6,380,933 $2,610,430
2009      —       —
2010      — $1,650,587
CT Harvest (bags of oysters)
1990 380,000
1991 540,390
1992 893,964
1993 700,882
1994 705,542
1995 751,876
1996 525,809
1997 196,293
1998 179,562
1999 170,000
2000 81,015
2001 56,325
2002 32,035
2003 36,288
2004 24,116
2005 23,041
2006 52,851
2007 132,933
2008 161,305
100 count bags
bushels 2003 and prior
NY Harvest (bushels of oysters)
1990 106,364
1991 111,131
1992 117,833
1993 74,817
1994 16,803
1995 46,463
1996 94,796
1997 69,538
1998 30,595
1999 8,426
2000 18,479
2001 31,400
2002 64,917
2003 58,653
2004 46,664
2005 27,636
2006 15,412
2007 33,822
2008 39,090
2009 15,421
2010 20,629
200 count bushels

What are oysters?

The eastern oyster are bivalves (mollusks having two hinged shells). They live at or below tide level and are attached to rocks, pilings, and older oyster shells. The Sound was well known for its oystering trade from the 19th to the early 20th century.  The filter-feeding capacity of shellfish can help keep near shore waters clean by controlling phytoplankton abundance.

What does this indicate?

The annual harvest numbers for oysters is an indicator of both oyster abundance as well as the socioeconomic importance of this species to Long Island Sound.  Since harvest is only allowed in approved waters, this indicator is also an indirect reflection of water quality in the near shore environment.

Status

Oystering saw a resurgence in the 1980s and 1990s due to successful oyster culture practices.  However, the large commercial oyster industry peaked in 1992 and declined mainly due to MSX, a parasitic disease. Oyster harvests began to rebound in 2006.  In Connecticut this was due in part to efforts to restore and protect oyster habitats.  Since 2008, Connecticut counts have not been available (see data note), but resource managers believe that harvests are continuing to rise.

Data Note

Since 2009 Connecticut shellfish harvesters did not report their harvest to the state because of a dispute over a possible tax on their harvest. Prior to 2004, harvest quantity in Connecticut was calculated in bushels.

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