I am second generation Brunswick resident, real estate tax payer, and a lifelong clam digger. I retired from full-time digging a decade ago. I still manage to go out and dig a peck every once and awhile at 74 years old.

I was also a former chairman of the Brunswick Marine Resources Committee in the 1990s. I must confess, I haven’t written an oped in years. After reading the opinion section lately, I feel compelled to respond to the outrageous complaints and false allegations of some NIMBY’s on Mere Point about the proposed 40 acre oyster farm.

The continued attacks on the oyster farms proposal and the defamation of the people proposing it are entirely cooked up out of falsehood and mistruths. I watched scenarios like this play out many times in Brunswick over my life.

Do not be fooled by these NIMBY’s calling themselves the “Maquoit Bay Preservation Group.” This group is most likely funded by part-time residents whom have hired lawyers and even a public relation firm to publicly demonize the oyster farming proposal and the two local families proposing it. Make no mistake this group’s sole purpose is to save their view, not preserve the Bay. I’m pretty sure they have not laid one hand toward preserving the health of Maquoit Bay, which ultimately provides its coastal Maine character and beauty.

Maquoit Bay Preservation Group uses words like “factory,” “conflict of interest,” “environmental corruption” and “plastic sunsets” as scare tactics to create a false narrative in hopes of winning over unknowing people to oppose the farm. I urge anyone to reach out to Mere Point Oyster Company if you are not familiar with their proposal; they got right back to me and explained everything in detail.

By the way, what planet does this group get their facts from? Oyster farming has been scientifically proven to be one of the most sustainable and restorative near shore commercial ocean practices. Shellfish, which includes oysters, provide trillions and trillions of gallons of seawater filtration daily, making the bay cleaner and clearer so vegetation can grow and create habitat for other creatures to exist. Twenty years ago Maquoit Bay was abundant with eel grass, mussels, clams, and quahogs. Since then, the shellfish productivity has declined drastically. Mussels are nearly extinct, clamming has declined over time and lobstering has slowly moved to deeper colder waters. Warming sea temperatures invite invasive predators like green crabs and black sea bass who pose even more of a risk to the future of native shellfish and lobster populations.

Oyster farming is a perfect adaptive strategy that allows the use of Maquoit Bay’s historical commercial waters, all the while restoring the Bay’s water clarity and quality. It’s a win-win. Maybe the NIMYs  will be convinced of that someday, just like those who were once opposed the Mere Point public boat launch.

Maine needs more oyster farms along the coast. Understand these people who claim to be preserving the bay are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are the folks who cut down trees along shorelines and create scenic views; they are the people who fill their plush lawns with fertilizer that runs off into the bay and causes algae blooms; they are the ultimate polluters. These are the same type of people that opposed the Mere Point boat launch and the town’s retention of 946 Mere Point Rd. They are NIMBYS in the true sense of word.

James Alan MacLeod is the former chairman of the Brunswick Marine Resources Committee.

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