Oyster Stock Status 2018 In The Delaware Bay
Oysters are doing better and better according to Rich Wong, Biometrician, ( fishery scientist or marine biologist ), he gave a presentation last night on the status of Delaware’s oyster beds in the bay. Recruitment and spat growth is up and has been increasing since 2015. The quota for 2016 was 10,662 bushels, 2018 has been increased by almost forty-eight percent. the 2018 quota will be 16,341 bushels. Every year DNREC does surveys to see how much spat is being produced and at which bed locations. DNREC monitors oysters at 61 locations across 1,700 acres of oyster bottom. These are on the Delaware side of the bay, New Jersey has their own beds, and do their own surveys. Jersey also has ten times the amount of oyster beds as Delaware does. I was told this has to do with the geography of the Delaware Bay. This year’s quota is great news for Delaware watermen and the state.
The subject of aquaculturing oysters in the Delaware Bay came up last night and is being explored by DNREC and the commercial watermen. The general opinion I got from the crowd of few was that it is a good idea and no one seemed to have a problem with aquaculture. New Jersey allows oyster aquaculturing in the Delaware bay and some feel that a percentage of the spat recruitment is coming from the Jersey beds seeding the Delaware beds. Genetic testing needs to be done on the spat to determine where they are coming from. An aquaculture program for oysters in the Delaware bay would be a great idea and a good industry for our watermen and economy. The inland bays now has an aquaculture program, but it is still illegal to harvest wild oysters from the inland bays and lower waterways.