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Perdue volunteers support Oyster Recovery Partnership in Maryland

  oyster recovery

Perdue associate John O'Reilly and his wife,Holly, load oyster spat (baby oysters) into cages during the Oyster Recovery Partnership's "Marylanders Grow Oysters" effort in Nanticoke, Md.

Salisbury, Md. (October 9, 2012) — More than 30 Perdue Farms associates and family members teamed with residents of Nanticoke, Md., and the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) to participate in the Marylanders Grow Oysters program for the fourth straight year. 
Volunteers filled and distributed more than 200 cages of “spat” (175,000 baby oysters), which the 24 Nanticoke volunteer families will foster for the next nine months. The cages will be suspended from their privately owned piers along the lower portion of the Nanticoke River until next summer when they will be planted in local sanctuaries.
“Perdue’s long-term commitment to the Marylanders Grow Oysters program demonstrates their recognition that restoring the Chesapeake Bay requires citizen engagement,” said Stephan Abel, Executive Director of the Oyster Recovery Partnership. “The hundreds of volunteers that have participated over the last four years have a positive impact in increasing the local oyster population in the Nanticoke River.”
Perdue has also supported the Oyster Recovery Partnership’s Marylanders Grow Oysters program through funding provided by the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the company’s charitable giving arm.
The Oyster Recovery Partnership also transported a truckload of recycled oyster shells to the site, where volunteers filled more than 350 nylon bags with empty shells. The bags are needed for the oyster hatchery production and will help provide a home for about 1 million oysters. Young larvae will attach themselves to the clean oyster shells at the University of Maryland Horn Point Oyster Hatchery in Cambridge, where they are produced. The resulting bags of spat on shells will be used for the 2013-14 season of the Marylanders Grow Oysters program.

According to the Marylanders Grow Oysters Web site, each cage with spat that is deployed by the homeowners will be filtering up to 50 gallons of water per hour by next May.

Perdue has been working hand-in-hand with the Oyster Recovery Partnership since 2009 when associates first teamed with residents of Nanticoke, Md., the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP), Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance to participate in the Marylanders Grow Oysters program. That year, the team deployed 250 cages of spat and also put together 260 shell bags for use in future oyster production.
“This is our fourth year partnering with the ORP for community-based conservation initiatives, and each year I am amazed by the outpouring of support,” said Chad Clem, Perdue’s project coordinator for the Oyster Recovery volunteer effort. “It is especially gratifying to work on a project like this when I know that Perdue is so strongly committed to the environment and the health of the bay.

Oysters are critical to the Bay’s long-term recovery. According to the Oyster Recovery Partnership, oysters used to filter the entire Chesapeake Bay in days, however, it now takes more than a year. The decline in filtering capacity is a result of the overall decrease of the Bay wide oyster population; it is now at a fraction of its historical peaks. The decline is due to the historical overfishing, oyster specific diseases, the loss of habitat and poor water quality.

“Much like our annual companywide Project Clean Stream in April, in which associates, their family members and friends have helped remove more than 66 tons of debris from ponds, streams, roadways and parks in five years, — our associates really get behind this project,” said Steve Schwalb, Perdue vice president of environmental sustainability. “Working with the Oyster Recovery Partnership is another great way for our associates to support our company’s commitment to environmental stewardship and have fun doing it with other people who share our passion for preserving our natural resources.”
About the Oyster Recovery Partnership
The Oyster Recovery Partnership has nearly a 20 -year history of successfully bringing together state and federal government agencies, scientists, watermen and conservation organizations toward the common goal of oyster restoration. Since 2000, the Oyster Recovery Partnership has planted nearly 4 billion oysters on 1,500 acres and rehabilitated more than 70 oyster reefs throughout Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay.

For more information about the Oyster Recovery Partnership visit http://www.oysterrecovery.org

About Marylanders Grow Oysters   
Marylanders Grow Oysters, a program under Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green & Growing Initiative, is being managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in conjunction with the Oyster Recovery Partnership, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

For more information about Marylanders Grow Oysters visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/oysterproject.

About Perdue
The Perdue Family of Companies includes Perdue Farms, Perdue AgriBusiness, and our shared services organizations. Since our beginning on Arthur Perdue’s farm in 1920, through expansion into agribusiness and the introduction of the PERDUE® brand of chicken and turkey under Frank Perdue, to today’s third-generation of family leadership with Chairman Jim Perdue, we’ve remained a family-owned company dedicated to making Perdue the most-trusted name in food and agricultural products. At the Perdue Family of Companies, we believe in responsible food and agriculture™.

For more information, visit www.perdue.com™.


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