Locals oppose Maine shellfish farming proposal

Plans for an experimental aquaculture operation near Mount Desert Island have some local residents up in arms. Supporters of the scheme to raise commercially-harvested clams and oysters see it as a way to stimulate the local economy, with minimal effects on the scenery or the environment. But some locals disagree. And, as Tom Porter reports, they also have questions regarding the partiality of the state when it comes to awarding aquaculture leases.

Morgan Bay is a picturesque piece of coastal Maine, located a few miles to the west of Mount Desert Island. Shellfish farmer Joseph Porada already runs a small experimental clam-harvesting operation in nearby Goose Cove (above). Now he wants to take over four acres of Morgan Bay for another experiment, testing the viability of growing mostly oysters, along with hard-shelled clams – also known as northern quahogs.

“I’m hoping it leads to me being able to sell roughly half a million oysters a year, sort of on an artisanal basis,” Porada says.

The shellfish farm he envisions would employ several local residents; it would also include cages and hundreds of floating nursery bags. Some of the gear will be visible, he admits, especially at low tide. But he doesn’t think the operation would ruin the character of the bay, or prevent people from enjoying it for recreational purposes.

“I’m not here to hurt anyone,” he says. “I’m here to make a living for myself and hopefully to encourage others in the aquaculture vein, and to find ways to make it work for Maine and for me.”

Read the full story at Maine Public Broadcasting Network>>

About the author

© Diversified Communications. All rights reserved.