Aquaculture acreage again up for grabs

Shellfish farming applications leave 106 acres unclaimed
May 16, 2018

After state officials did not receive completed applications within a 1-year deadline, 106 acres of Delaware’s Inland Bays were made available for shellfish aquaculture May 2.

The majority of the 106 acres, representing nearly one-third of the program’s total acreage, was made available in Rehoboth Bay. Acreage is also available for shellfish aquaculture sites in Little Assawoman Bay. Sites in Indian River Bay and the western portion of Rehoboth Bay showed no new availability.

DNREC held the state’s first lottery drawing for lease sites May 2, 2017, drawing 58 applicants for 343 acres.

DNREC has updated its interactive shellfish aquaculture map, which can be found on the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s aquaculture webpage, to reflect the changes May 10. New applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

In order to apply for available acreage, applicants must submit a complete application and a $300 application fee to the Division of Fish & Wildlife.

Each applicant may pick up to 5 acres in Indian River and Rehoboth bays combined to harvest oysters, and an additional 5 acres in Little Assawoman Bay to grow clams. People will be allowed to harvest shellfish outside of the 343 predetermined shellfish aquaculture development areas, but they would be required to go through a lengthy and time-consuming application process for federal and state permits.

For more information, go to the fish and wildlife website or call Zina Hense at 302-735-2960 for more details.