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New Legislation to Boost Chesapeake Aquaculture

US - Seeking to boost Maryland's fledgling aquaculture industry, the O'Malley administration plans to introduce legislation to make it easier for people and businesses to raise oysters or other shellfish in the Chesapeake Bay.

The administration has drafted a bill that would overhaul the state's law that now limits leasing of the water and the bay bottom to private entities that want to raise oysters or clams, reports Baltimoresun. The measure was presented last night at the state's Aquaculture Coordinating Council meeting in Annapolis.

Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin said the state needs to cut away the red tape and legal limitations on leasing in the Chesapeake if the state's once-prolific oyster industry is going to recover from the diseases that have devastated the Chesapeake's oyster population over the past two decades.

"If you look worldwide, the only places where oysters seem to be thriving is in aquaculture settings," Griffin said yesterday. "There's very few public fisheries left."

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