REVITALIZATION PROJECT BRINGS WARMTH TO THE DELAWARE BAY
(05/08) TRENTON -- The New Jersey Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) today announced that it is making available $300,000
in funding to strengthen the oyster resource in the Delaware Bay.
The project will enhance more than 150 acres of oyster habitat,
leading to a significant increase in oyster production in the
"The oyster industry has played a significant role in shaping
the unique history of New Jersey's bayshore region," said
Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. "At its peak during the
turn of the century, more than 4,000 people worked in the oyster
industry in Cumberland County. Today's announcement moves us forward
in our goal of improving the quality of life for those who today
make their living from the harvesting of oysters."
DEP's contribution will be supplemented by an additional $300,000
provided through the efforts of Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo
(NJ-2) to be shared with the state of Delaware. Rep. LoBiondo's
contribution comes from money secured under the Omnibus Appropriations
bill for the Second District of New Jersey.
"Through this revitalization program, we hope to give a
boost to the oyster industry surrounding Delaware Bay," said
DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "We expect that the
project will increase job opportunities for oystermen, and bring
additional revenue to those businesses associated with oyster
"These new funds will go a long way to help the oyster industry
in South Jersey," said Rep. LoBiondo. "The money will
be used in conjunction with the Rutgers' Haskin Shellfish Research
Laboratory in Commercial Township to help revitalize and seed
oyster beds in the Delaware Bay."
In the last four years, the production or recruitment of new
oysters in the Delaware Bay has been poor, causing a decrease
in the number of young oysters, or spat, to mature to harvest
size. Oyster larvae require a clean, hard surface to which they
can attach for future growth, but the sources of these shells
have diminished over the years.
The $600,000 provided by DEP and Congressman LoBiondo will fund
the planting of empty clam shells to facilitate the growth of
oyster seed. The money will also be used for the transplanting
of oyster seed from shell planting locations to nursery sites
located in the upper Delaware Bay.
The project is an expansion of DEP's successful 2003 pilot project
that enhanced an oyster seedbed in the Delaware Bay with the planting
of nearly 30 million oysters. The planting resulted in a spat
settlement rate that was 75 times greater than natural production