Oyster Farmers Who Feared Going Broke Brace for a ‘Bonkers’ Summer

A year ago, oyster growers who farm New Jersey’s marshy coastal inlets and tidal flats were fighting for survival.

Restaurants were shut down by the pandemic, and the oysters they had nurtured for two years were growing past their prime. The pricey seafood that should have been sold in raw bars or served at weddings was instead submerged in cages and racks in Barnegat and Delaware Bays, crowding out a younger crop of oysters.

“When Covid hit, that market disappeared,” said Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, a nonprofit dedicated to the study and conservation of marine life and habitats.

Unable to pay for boat fuel or the following year’s seed, some small aquaculture farmers in New York and New Jersey, struggling to revitalize what was once the country’s pre-eminent oyster market, braced for the worst.

But a year later, against long odds, the industry is poised for a summertime boom.

Full article at NYTimes