BROOKSVILLE — The Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has approved a three-year experimental lease to grow oysters on a 2.5-acre site off Bear Head in the Bagaduce River.
Last winter, the department accepted an application from Frank and Tonyia Peasley to experiment with different oyster growing and harvesting methods on three small tracts located in close proximity to their existing oyster farm. Two of the sites are smaller than two-tenths of an acre in size.
The Peasleys already grow oysters on a 5.4-acre site east of Scott’s Island, the base of operations for their Little Island Oyster Co. The experimental lease will allow them to test and compare the success of growing oysters that are free-planted on the bottom with using stacks of plastic-coasted wire mesh cages that remain below the surface of the water.
They plan to raise as many as 1 million oysters on the three sites using seed taken from their existing lease operation.
DMR published notice of the lease application late in February and notified nearby riparian landowners, the town of Brooksville and a variety of potentially interested parties about the proposal. The department received no comments with respect to the lease.
Under the terms of the DMR decision dated July 22, the Peasleys’ lease will run for three years from a starting date to be chosen by them. The lease must begin within 12 months of decision.
Interested parties have 40 days to ask for judicial review.