Assembly Republican Robert Auth’s legislation (S-2617/A-3944) to help clean up contaminated waterways with shellfish signed today by Gov. Christie.
The new law lifts Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP’s) ban on the cultivation of shellfish in inner harbor and coastal waters for restoration, research or educational purposes.
“Restoring oysters and other shellfish to spoiled waters can revitalize the waterway,” said Auth, R — Bergen and Passaic. “The natural filtration of shellfish removes toxins and pollutants from water. Re-establishing shellfish beds and reefs will provide cleaner, clearer water along New Jersey’s coastline.”
Concerned about the harvesting and sale of contaminated oysters, in 2010, DEP stopped the “gardening” of shellfish species in polluted coastal waters. The shellfish used for ecological restoration are small and unsuitable for human consumption.