CHAPTER 213 - OYSTERS - RELATING TO THE DELAWARE COMMISSION OF SHELL FISHERIES

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 151 OF VOLUME 44, LAWS OF DELAWARE, 1935, PROVIDING FOR A DELAWARE COMMISSION OF SHELL FISHERIES, AND DEFINING THE POWERS AND DUTIES THEREOF, BY PRESCRIBING CERTAIN RULES AND REGULATIONS TO GOVERN THE WORK OF SAID COMMISSION AND THE LEASING OF ACREAGE IN THE AREAS OVER WHICH SAID COMMISSION HAS BEEN GIVEN JURISDICTION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:

Section 1. That Chapter 151, Volume 44, Laws of Delaware, 1943, be and the same is hereby amended by adding a new Section thereto following Section 6 thereof and to be known and styled as Section 6A, as follows:

Section 6A. The following rules and regulations are prescribed to govern the work of The Delaware Commission of Shell Fisheries with respect to the leasing of acreage in the areas over which said Commission has been given jurisdiction:

(a) The Commission shall lease to residents of the State of Delaware areas in Indian River Bay and in Rehoboth Bay where there is no natural growth of oysters;

(b) Such areas are authorized to be so leased for the purpose of planting oysters and clams and catching same by means of dredges, tongs or rakes;

() Any citizen of the State may lease an acreage in either Bay or acreages in both Bays, provided, that not less than ten (10) acres shall be leased to any person in either Bay, and the total acreage leased to any one person, firm, corporation or association, in either or both Bays shall not exceed three hundred (300) acres;

(d) No part of Rehoboth Bay within three hundred (300) feet from shore, and no part of Indian River and Bay within one thousand (1000) feet from shore, shall be leased for the purposes herein stated;

(e) The annual rental for the areas so leased shall be fixed by the Commission but shall not exceed the sum of $1.00 per acre and shall not be less than the sum of $.50 per acre;

(f) The area so leased may be used by the parties leasing the same either for a private supply of oysters or for commercial purposes but some planting of oysters must be made upon each area leased during each year held by the person leasing the same;

(g) No license shall be issued to a non-resident of the State for the purpose of allowing the taking and catching of clams for commercial purposes;

(h) The Commission shall not continue to lease areas in the waters aforesaid to any person who fails to plant and cultivate the area or plantation leased to him or her within a period of two years from the original leasing;

() Upon such failure to cultivate or plant oysters within two years from leasing, the bottom so leased shall revert to the State;

(a) No person shall lease any area in Indian River Bay or Rehoboth Bay in the name of another person, firm, corporation or association but shall only lease the same in his or her own name;

(d) Areas leased by the Commission shall be marked by stakes driven in the several corners or angles of the lines bounding the area leased;

(1) Such stakes shall have distinctive marks indicating the ownership of the grounds and shall be so placed as not to be obstructive to navigation or to interfere with the rights of fishermen or to interfere with private or public bathing beaches;

(m) Areas leased may be retained by the person or persons leasing the same upon the payment of the required annual charges and the observance of all laws, rules and regulations made with reference to the planting and cultivating and taking of oysters and/or clams in and from the bodies of water herein named;

() Violations of laws, rules and regulations enacted by the General Assembly or made by the Commission, or failure to pay rentals, shall forfeit the areas leased to the State;

(a) The Commission shall advise persons desiring to lease areas in Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay as to the location of the grounds subject to lease and upon request shall likewise furnish copies of rules and regulations of the Commission governing the planting, cultivating and catching of oysters and clams in the waters aforesaid;

(b) Any person who, prior to the enactment of this law, has leased in excess of the limit of three hundred (300) acres shall have a period of one year in which to remove oysters planted thereon, after which time any acreage in excess of three hundred (300) acres shall revert to the State of Delaware;

(c) At some time during the months of January, February and March of each year, every lessee of water areas of the State leased for the purpose of planting and cultivating oysters or clams thereon shall make a report to the Commission stating the number of bushels of oysters and clams planted during the preceding calendar year, the amount of cultivation done upon the leased grounds, and the number of bushels of oysters and clams proposed to be planted during the calendar year in which such report is made;

(d) When any oysters from outside of Delaware are secured for the purpose of planting in the waters of the State, they must be accompanied by a certificate of purity from the proper authorities of the State from which obtained and such certificate or certificates must be filed with .the Delaware Commission of Shell Fisheries before the said oysters are planted in Delaware waters;

(s) After the completion of the proposed survey of the inland waters of the State to ascertain the boundaries and extent of the areas leased for the planting of oysters or clams, the Commission shall have the authority to adjust the boundaries of the leased areas where there is overlapping or conflict of claims, and the decision of the Commission with respect to any dispute between lessees shall be final.

Approved April 24, 1945.