Chesapeake Oystermen Go On Strike Over Pricing Battle | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Chesapeake Oystermen Go On Strike Over Pricing Battle

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Many of Maryland's Chesapeake oystermen are on strike in protest of dropping prices for their catch.

Only 600 people live on Deal Island, but on a normal day at Scotts Cove Marina, the shipyard is bustling with dozens of boats counting their catch of oysters. But this week the boats are docked, and the Marina is eerily quiet.

Buyers have dropped their payout prices from $42 per bushel to $35, and when they threatened to drop the price by another $5, oystermen like Bunky Chance went on strike.

"On one hand, it's not fair and on the other hand it's the way the game is played," Chance says. "The market can set its price and what are we going to do? We can't go somewhere else...[and] try and catch a different oyster and get a better price, because we are stuck here."

Chance says government regulations have restricted 10,000 acres of farm-able waters in the Chesapeake Bay, and that, coupled with an influx of oysters coming into the market from Texas and South Carolina, has put the oystermen on the island in a fight for survival.

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