Rumors about aquaculture totally unfounded

June 21, 2013

“On rumor’s tongues continual slanders ride.” That is a cool statement. I wish I had said it. Alas, Shakespeare beat me to it by a few hundred years. Oh well, Shakespeare was good at writing nice prose; I’m good at plagiarizing. At least I can claim credit for recognizing good writing.

In truth, rumors do a lot of harm; particularly when the rumors have no basis in fact. Let’s take a look at the latest “hot” rumor. “Aquaculture is going to hurt fishing and clamming in the Delaware Bays.” Aquaculture, for those of you who have not heard, is a safe and economically viable process of commercially growing oysters.

These are the rumors regarding this issue:

• Aquaculture will ruin fishing in the bay.

• Aquaculture will ruin clamming in the bays.

• Aquaculture will damage our tourist industry…because of these factors. Real or rubbish?

The truth is that these rumors are unadulterated nonsense.

There is a bill due to be presented to the Delaware House of Representatives authorizing aquaculture in our bays. Delaware is the only state on the entire east coast that does not permit aquaculture. I’m wondering how aquaculture would hurt our tourist industry. Where else would the tourists go - and why?

The areas allocated for oyster cages have been tested and are not clam-growing areas. Most of our bays are so shallow they are not navigable except for small craft. For the most part they are unfishable. Only a very small area of our bays is being allocated for aquaculture - a total of about 600 acres between Indian River Bay, Rehoboth Bay and Assawoman Bay. I’m told that those three bays encompass 22,000 acres - about three percent to be set aside for aquaculture.

Aquaculture would provide positive benefits for the Delaware economy. Oyster cages would become great fish breeding habitats. Each oyster filters up to 40 gallons per day. What an improvement that would make in the water quality of our bays. Aquaculture is a $120,000,000 industry. Why shouldn’t Delaware get its share? We certainly need both the jobs and the money.

Oysters Rockafeller? Phooey! Let’s have Oysters DuPont.

Chuck Griffiths
Ocean View

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