Oyster restoration/farming for the inland bays information and facts

There is a lot of misinformation in the fishing community about the shellfish aquaculture program to introduce oyster “farming” in our bays.  I have been contacted by people on different sides of the fence … if you will.  I asked Captain Bill Baker, whom is a member of many of the committees concerned with our fisheries for some factual information.  There was a great presentation at one of our Monday meetings about this subject by EJ from the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays.  It was a very informative talk, that I have a video of, and hope to have available soon.  There have been many debates about this subject based on a lot of misinformation.  I hope this helps clear up some concerns, or questions, and I will visit this subject again from time to time.  I personally feel that oyster restoration is very important ecologically and economically for our waters on many levels.

Captain Bill Baker ………Okay …  HERE IS THE DEAL.   I have been active with the proposals to bring commercial Oyster harvesting to our inland bays. My first and last concern is that of the recreational fisherman and what the impact if any would be to those Recs. The program has been in collaboration with the University of Delaware Marine advisory program with John Ewart and the Center for the Inland Bays and they tested the waters by growing oysters from spat to maturity (hanging spat from resident docks and placement in jetties around the bays for several years before the committee was formed and was eventually named the Tiger Team.

During the three year tiger team meetings , presentations were made to a numerous amount of community organizations. We had a meeting with recreational fishermen, Sussex economic council, Southern Delaware convention and visitors center, Lions Club, to name just a few. Also brochures, powerpoint, and exhibits to inform all stakeholders and interested parties.

The tiger team consisted of Commercial Clammers, Aquaculture interested parties, UD Sea Grant, Recreational Fishermen, Sussex Economic Developement, DNREC, Sussex agriculture, The Delaware shellfish advisory council, and the University of Maryland extention for input on Marylands Oyster farming operations.

Now here is a short summation of the tiger team findings and what has been presented to the legistlature for code:
one to five acres may be leased to one person for a duratiion of 15 years
all leased ground must contain less than 2.2 clams per M
leases will be allowed 50 feet from shoreline or pier or dock and 150 feet from a navigational channel
160 acres will be available for lease in Rehoboth bay to be located in Sally Cove and at the east side of the bay (behind old Inlet) 1.5% of the bay to a max of 2.8% , none of this infringes on fishing areas.
125 acres in Indian River bay to be located in Piney Point and Slews Gut. 1.3% of this bay
227 acres in Little Assawoman Bay located along the east side. 10% of the bay.

the ecological upside to all of this is positive.
first the cages placed in Rhode Island attracted 49 different species of fish
Aquaculture will make a significant improvement in the waters and also while generating jobs and revenue providing Local Rehoboth Oysters in restaurants.
2,334 Lbs of Nutrients will be removed in a three year cycle
1000 oysters will filter 20,000 gallons per day, each leased acre will hold 750,000 oysters, you do the math

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Captain Bill Baker

Bill’s Sport Shop

Thanks Bill, I appreciate you sending DSF this information.  I will post this to our DSF Facebook page, so people can chime in with opnions and concerns.  Discussion based on facts is always welcome on our page.

Fish On!!

Rich King

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