One of the most amazing creatures in the Chesapeake Bay is also one of the most important. Oysters are more than just delicious; they keep our bay clean and functioning, and provide a lot of opportunities for the environment to thrive. These bottom filter feeders hold surprising secrets, and it’s important for you to know all about the organism that ensures we have a healthy bay. Read on for some interesting facts about oysters.
Fact #1: Oysters can filter >50 gallons over the course of 24 hours.
Oysters get their food from filtering the water for phytoplankton. While they do this, they’re filtering the water of pollutants. More oysters means a cleaner bay, which is why it is vital we don’t overfish them. Overfishing is considered a serious problem when it comes to oysters, because they’re a popular Maryland dish. With more attention drawn to their population, though, we can make this a non-issue.
Fact #2: All oysters start life as a male.
An oyster only becomes female by its second winter. Females are usually larger. Oysters lay eggs which are fertilized. Females can produce between 2 and 115 million eggs. This rate depends almost entirely on salinity, as they don’t like to lay eggs in water where the salinity is under 10 psu. This is what makes our bay’s health so important; salinity must be kept steady for solid oyster reproduction.
Fact #3: Oysters can live up to 20 years.
An oyster’s growth depends on where it resides in the bay. Obviously, oysters in better water conditions are going to live longer. With the proper diet and the best conditions, oysters thrive and filter the water to encourage more oyster population growth. When all is said and done, oysters can grow to be up to 8 inches long. The oysters that are harvested for your plate, however, are around 3 inches in length, and take three to five years to reach this size.
Read more oyster facts here!
Want to try oysters for yourself? Come to Costas Inn today!
Costas Inn has been a family owned and operated restaurant for over 40 years. We were recently voted the 2015 #1 Baltimore Seafood Restaurant by USA Today. You may have spotted Costas Inn during one of our 9 appearances on the Today Show or heard one of our many interviews on WJZ TV Channel 13 with Ron Matz and Marty Bass. We were also voted #1 Crab Restaurant 2014 in the Baltimore Business Journal! You can enjoy our famous crab cakes in-house or order them online for anytime eating. We also provide some of the best seafood catering in the Baltimore area! You can also get your fill from Costas even when you’re not in our dining room: follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube!