Maryland oystermen have stopped their week-long strike and gone back to work. Yet, their protest may have accomplished very little.
Deal Island Oysterman Bunky Chance says his fellow watermen returned to work believing less money is better than no money at all.
"They've jammed us all down here on the same biomass and the best we can do is pound it," Chance says.
'They' in this case is the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, which has turned 10,000 acres of farmable waters into sanctuaries to protect the oyster population. Buyers had dropped their prices by as much as $12 per bushel, largely because they are getting oysters cheaper from Texas and South Carolina, driving the oystermen to go on strike.
"Most of the fellas that sat home are not terribly optimistic about the price going up, more the motivation of this is public awareness," Chance says.
Chance says unless the DNR eases its regulations, the prices will stay too low for these oystermen to survive, but for now, they have to grin and bear it.