After my story Tuesday about a bountiful harvest of planted oysters off Colonial Beach, Dudley Biddlecomb of Fair Port, near Reedville on the Chesapeake Bay, e-mailed to tell me that he and his brother had an equally surprising experience. He says naturally reproducing native oysters produced larvae that attached in great numbers to oyster shells planted in cages on a creek bottom. "Last year, with the help of Mother Nature, two dozen bottom cages and 200 [bushels] of shells we produced 480,000 spat [baby oysters].
What I read in today’s Free Lance-Star proves what we thought all along Mother Nature is live and well, but she needs some help," he wrote. Biddlecomb says that oyster bars must be "worked" to create a bed of clean shell for the spat to cling to.