Long Neck Residents Worry Oyster Farms Will Change "Way Of Life"


LONG NECK, Del. -- Welcome to Malone's Marina, home to fishermen and recreational boaters.

 John Knapp has lived here for 14 years and makes it a point to head out onto the waters as much as possible. Last year alone, he spent $5,000 on fuel and even more on supplies and food for a day out in his backyard: Rehoboth Bay.

"This is more than just an industry, this is our way of life down here," said Knapp.

Though it looks empty now, it could soon be deserted with an aquaculture bill.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is looking to make the First State oyster friendly with an underwater farm of oysters and other shellfish on the Inland Bays.

"I don't think you're going to see or we would allow people to boat across them or jet ski across them," said E.J. Chalabala, Delaware Center for the Inland Bays.

According to group members, it would be the last state on the East Coast to adopt the $119 million industry and help keep the waters clean and bring more jobs year-round to Sussex County.

"These bays are heavily used in the three-four plus months of the summer," said John Ewart, a University of Delaware professor for the Aquaculture and Fishery Program and Delaware Sea Grant. "In the winter, let's take a boat ride, there's nobody out there."

Knapp says his neighbors live for the busy summer weekends on Camp Arrowhead and along the old Inlet, the two areas where oyster farms would start building right away.

"We have people that make hot dogs and hamburgers," said Knapp. "They sell ice cream out there. That's going to adversely affect for businesses on the water."

If the move comes soon enough, residents of Malone's Marina will be looking for a new home to fish.

"The Long Neck people, that's all they have is Rehoboth bay and Indian River Bay," said Mario Malone, Malone's Marina owner. "Once you take that away, this whole area starts dying."

To see the first story about the Aquaculture Industry that may come to Delaware, click here.

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