Virginia has enjoyed huge oyster harvests for the past two seasons, taking in 504,000 bushels last year and 409,000 the year before that. The season now winding down looks healthy, too.

 

But don't get used to it.

 

The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries have had a couple years of rather poor spat sets that bode a leaner harvest for the 2015-16 season that begins in the fall. A spat set is when oyster larvae attach to bottom shell so they can survive and grow to market-size.

 

As a result, the Shellfish Management Advisory Committee met Monday to consider a range of options being floated to curtail commercial harvest from public reefs next season, from shortening the workweek to culling hundreds of oyster fishing licenses to a draconian reduction in the daily harvest limit to four bushels per person. The limit now is eight bushels.

 

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