Letter: Building a better future for the bay
A million thanks for the members of the VMRC’s Fisheries Management Committee for voting to prevent winter crab dredging of the Chesapeake Bay for another year. This saves the life of the bay. The bay must have submerged grass beds for life. The grass roots take in carbon dioxide and nitrogen, both pollutants, and give off oxygen for the bay’s marine resources.
The bay should never be dredged again as the Virginia Institute of Marine Science reports that the upper half of the bay is oxygen depleted—a virtual dead zone.
I apologize for my generation for the damage we did to the bay. The bay lived for thousands of years without a problem. The Indians used it, then the Pilgrims, and then my generation came along. We overharvested the oysters and they are now 99.6 percent depleted. A single oyster can filter 40 gallons of the bay each day. We wiped out the herring and the shad and 80 percent of the menhaden. These are all filter feeders and clean the bay’s waters. Again, please forgive me and my generation for the terrible job we did for stewardship for your children and grandchildren.
I pray that we can learn from the mistakes of the past and build a better future for the Chesapeake Bay.
Dr. John B. LaPetina Sr.
Former vice chair, Fisheries Management
Virginia Marine Resources Commission