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December 17, 2017 8:20 am EST
Location: 33.436N 77.743W
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Eastern Oyster Not Endangered
Tuesday, July 03, 2007 @ 16:38:24 EDT

Eastern Oyster Not Endangered

A biological review team has completed an Endangered Species Act (ESA) status review report for the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) and submitted it to NOAA Fisheries. The eastern oyster occurs naturally in a great diversity of habitats along the western Atlantic Ocean from the Canadian Maritime Provinces to the Gulf of Mexico, Panama , and the Caribbean Islands. In addition, the eastern oyster has been transplanted outside of its natural range. While eastern oyster abundance has declined from historic highs, especially in the northern portion of the species' range, the eastern oyster is still present in all areas throughout its historic distribution. After reviewing the best available scientific and commercial information, NOAA has determined that listing the eastern oyster as threatened or endangered under the ESA is not warranted at this time.

Overharvesting was found to be a minor threat to oyster populations since extensive management measures are already in place to protect public oyster stocks. These efforts include setting conservative harvest quotas, lowering daily catch limits, limiting harmful gear use, and reducing harvest seasons. While predation and disease may have effects on localized populations, neither of these factors are significant threats that affect the continued existence of the eastern oyster. Hurricanes, harmful algal blooms, and non-native introductions have also affected local populations, but none of these stressors are thought to have a significant impact throughout all or a significant portion of the range of the eastern oyster.

The eastern oyster status review report and list of references are available online.

For more information, read the Federal Register notice or contact Kimberly.Damon-Randall@noaa.gov.

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