2500 B.C.: The earliest evidence of oyster harvesting — shell deposits called middens — indicate that people living in the Chesapeake region were eating oysters and other shellfish as long as early as 2,500 B.C.
1600s: Early colonial settlers frequently remark on the size and quantity of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. Oysters were likely harvested using boats, rakes and by wading into shallow water to simply gather them.
1700s: Around 1700, oyster harvesters began using tongs to retrieve oysters from the water.
Early 1800s: New England fishermen bring dredging equipment to rapidly harvest oysters from...