Oyster, Eastern – U.S.
Eastern Oysters are found along the eastern coast of North America, from Canada to Mexico, including the Gulf of Mexico and some Caribbean islands. They grow very quickly, reach sexual maturity within several months, and can release tens of millions of eggs each year.
Population sizes of Eastern Oysters vary by region, being severely depleted in some areas such as the Chesapeake Bay and healthier in others areas (e.g. Delaware Bay). In recent years, most commercially caught Eastern Oysters come from Louisiana, followed by Texas and Florida. In these states, abundance levels are largely unknown and can vary greatly over time. Management measures are in place throughout the Eastern Oyster’s range.
Fishermen typically use dredges or hand gear to catch Eastern Oysters, with the former method causing significant damage to bottom habitats. Bycatch in Eastern Oyster fisheries is likely low.