SHERWOOD — A new commercial oyster hatchery is being built in Sherwood. Ferry Cove Shellfish has broken ground and started construction efforts on the new 20,000-square-foot facility. The property sits on 70 acres in Talbot County.

The state-of-the-art hatchery is slated to open in the spring of 2021. It will be one of the largest oyster hatcheries on the East Coast.

Stephan Abel, Ferry Cove’s president and CEO, said the project will help further develop Maryland’s aquaculture sector. “We expect to create eight to ten full-time jobs. The property is a combination of agriculture, forests and wetlands. Our plan is for a bulk of the agricultural areas to remain in production once the hatchery is constructed,” Abel said.

The Eastern Shore’s seafood and aquaculture industries — like other sectors — has been impacted by the coronavirus and its effects on business and consumer spending.

The planned facility is near St. Michaels. It will include algal production, water filtration and seawater heating systems to extend larvae production beyond the natural April to September season. Back-up systems will be installed to help the facility deal with tropical storms and impacts on water quality.

“One of the barriers to growth that quickly emerged as we evaluated the aquaculture market was the availability of larvae and seed to support the shellfish industry,” Abel said. “We want to grow the segment while, at the same time, preserving the culture and history of the iconic oyster fishery.”

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