Oyster Life Cycle
The oyster spat will start to feed and put all of their energy into shell growth by sequestering calcium carbonate from the water column. The oyster becomes a juvenile at one year of age, and officially becomes an adult at year three. Oysters typically grow up to an inch per year. This is dependent on salinity and the quality of the water column. In higher salinity areas, oyster will grow faster than in lower salinity areas.
In Maryland, legal harvest size is three inches or approximately three years of age. The adult oysters can be harvested for market at this time. The oysters on the reef will continue to filter the water column, provide habitat, and reproduce contributing to the ecological benefits to the Bay until they are harvested.