Last month a small group of watermen appeared before the House Environment and Transportation Committee to testify in support of a bill they helped write.

They represented the Clean Chesapeake Coalition; a group of fishermen who believe they can restore the bay if only the state would give them control of the fishery. Their claim is that if they are allowed to power-dredge oysters without restriction they can restore oyster habitat and oysters in the bay.

They testified that oysters, which can filter up to 50 gallons of bay water each day, will then clean the bay for us. But oysters can't filter the bay from a bushel basket headed to market.

Using oysters to clean the bay is not a new idea. In fact, as many Marylanders know, oysters have been promoted by numerous public and private groups for decades as a necessary part of the solution for our bay.

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