Jenn Hall Writes

Edible Jersey: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Delaware Bay Oyster

As the sun comes up at Money Island Marina, where the Nantuxent Creek and Delaware Bay come together, ship captains and their crews head out onto the water. Aptly named, Money Island is the epicenter for oystering on Jersey’s west coast, where most of its open-harvest catch is landed. By all accounts, that trade is brisk. Peering over the dock from his rustic baymen’s shop, Marina manager Bruce Muenker will tell you that a lot of profit is generated at this onetime salt-hay farm. Tony Novak, president of Baysave, estimates $26 million in annual landings here of shellfish and other catch. That makes it a popular haunt for researchers (not to mention state representatives who track quotas)—which is a good thing. Without the scientists, there’s a good chance the Delaware oyster might be all but extinct, and certainly not prevalent enough to harvest.

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Published in the High-Summer 2017 issue

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