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Oyster Farming

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  • Oyster Farming

    I have some friends in Virginia that raise oysters by their docks in the back bays off of the Chesapeake. Does anyone know if you can buy oyster spats in Delaware and if there are any people that are raising oysters in the back bays of Rehoboth or Indian River?
    I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.

  • #2
    Flyier, I talked to a fellow that does in Va. and was thinking about it. You can go online and buy a whole kit for 1,000 oysters (thats about 4 bu. of mature oysters) and everything you need to grow them. Cost is around $60. My dock is in Oak Orchard and the problem I would have is the storms, they would play havack with mine plus I would not be able to eat them, this is and no clamming area. What you get is baby oysters and mesh sacks to grow them in. Just google it and you will find all you need to know. Hope this helps


    • #3
      I am pretty sure that oyster and clam aquaculture is regulated by DNREC. Permits and such are needed. If I recall the issue with introducing non-native oysters may create an ecologic calamity.
      For more information regarding shellfish aquaculture regulations, please contact Zina Hense at 302-739-4782 or via email at

      PS I just sent in an email asking about this topic.
      Last edited by Jay; 11-27-2016, 06:31 AM.


      • #4
        You are right Jay. I called and left a message but never got a return call. Since I decided against it I just never followed up.


        • #5
          I heard from John Clark....
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          • #6
            Here is some more information from Zina Hense of DNREC,
            Hense, Zina (DNREC)
            to me, John

            4:20 PM

            Hi Jay,

            As you've already heard from John, you were not able to find regulations for recreational oyster aquaculture because oyster aquaculture in the Inland Bays was structured as a commercial enterprise--from the size of the lease (minimum 1 acre) to application, leasing, minimum planting, importing, reporting, and other requirements.

            And, you were also correct when you noted on the forum that a permit is necessary for importing shellfish into Delaware waters, as disease and foreign genetics can be a concern for native shellfish.

            I think John covered most of your question, but more information is here:

            Delaware Code regarding shellfish aquaculture


            Delaware regulations regarding shellfish aquaculture


            If you, or other forum members, have specific questions, you're welcome to contact me--I see you've posted the correct contact info already.

            Zina Hense

            Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife

            Dover, DE




            • #7
              Amazing. This thread reads like something from Monty Python. There isn't a rule that says you can, so you can't. That's it? If you are in a no shelf fish take area with water quality issues I wouldn't eat them, but unless there is some concern over specific oyster species and disease or something this sounds nuts.

              Last edited by Ridgerunner; 11-30-2016, 07:15 AM.


              • #8
                Don't get me started


                • #9
                  Kyle, Are you in the woods now?


                  • #10
                    Appoint a committee to figure it out and get back with us


                    • #11
                      The Center for the Inland Bays has a program if you have waterfront property. Heck even in Louisiana you cannot even harvest wild oysters! You have to have a commercial license or buy them! Don do you think just anyone should be able to raise a few deer out back in a pen to eat every year? Can you imagine the CWD issues?! Regulations suck, but they're necessary sometimes. IMO most regulation efforts become overdone due to the few that yell the loudest, rather than the common sense majority that just don't speak up. That's what happened with the oyster aquaculture.


                      • #12
                        All makes sense to me. I remember Jeff Tinsman speaking at one of the oyster meetings about the possibility of farm raising clams. When you are at your own dock you are still in public water. Anything introduced becomes a public liability.


                        • #13
                          Somebody correct me if I'm wrong but .... I had read that there was state or federal money available if you wanted to start raising oysters because of the ability of the oysters to clean the water. The article went in to say that although there was money available, Delaware has yet to issue any permits. Now I understand why nobody has tried it.