House Bill 160
147th General Assembly (2013 - 2014)
The General Assembly has ended, the current status is the final status.
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 3 AND TITLE 7 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO AQUACULTURE.
Delaware is the only state on the East Coast of the United States that does not have a shellfish aquaculture industry. Shellfish aquaculture can provide significant economic benefits to coastal communities while improving the water quality and enhancing the habitat value of Delaware’s most imperiled estuaries, the Inland Bays. This bill is designed to minimize conflicts with existing uses of the Inland Bays. It authorizes the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to direct and control the shellfish aquaculture activities within the Inland Bays and to set criteria for the approval of lease sites and applications for leasing. The legislation also gives the Department the authority to collect fees for lease applications and to administer a harvester license. The bill sets lease fees and harvester license fees, establishes term limits on leases, sets penalties for non-compliance with the provisions of the bill, defines illegal gear, stipulates what is to be the disposition of abandoned lease sites, and defines what would constitute theft or tampering with gear legally set on leased sites. The legislation also authorizes the Department to promulgate regulations on issuing and administering leases, including the revocation of leases for cause. It further gives the Department regulatory authority over determining: what species may be cultured and where, adding acreage to approved lease sites, the required marking and inspection of lease sites, limits on the type and nature of gear that may be used on lease sites, what would constitute abandonment of lease sites and disposition of gear left on abandoned sites, seasonal restrictions on working on lease sites, prevention and control of shellfish-borne diseases, and criteria for importation of shellfish to be used for aquaculture purposes in order to protect wild shellfish. The legislation also clarifies the authority of the Department of Agriculture to coordinate activities in closed-system aquaculture only and deletes reference to the Department’s Delaware Aquaculture Council, which is not active and is no longer needed given the clarification of authority. .
Takes effect upon being signed into law