Here is a view on aquaculture from a 46-year clam digger. Some folks think I oppose all aquaculture. That’s not the case. I support land-based aquaculture and a very limited sea-based aquaculture, with the limited sea-based aquaculture reserved for towns trying to increase a natural resource.


Young oysters being grown are inspected on the Damariscotta River in Walpole in 2016. Holly Ramer/Associated Press, File

We have to remember that when an inch of any fishing grounds goes to aquaculture, it is taken from wild harvest. Wild harvest cannot clam, mussel, scallop or anything else in that area. Recreational boats aren’t allowed near the site and the landscape is grossly changed. The natural beauty is gone. This is the equivalent of putting apartment buildings in the Grand Canyon.

The next issue is, an aquaculture site is now introducing a species in a large volume with no idea of the consequences to the native habitat. With no study of that species, at that volume, in that area, the bad possibilities are endless. Whether or how much they consume, starve out or pollute is unknown.

Aquaculture is man thinking he knows what’s best. He is taking natural fishing grounds that generations of fishermen (and women) have fished all their lives because he (or she) is smarter than the ocean. This is reckless, irresponsible and destructive at best.

Waldoboro will soon be putting in place a moratorium on private aquaculture. We wish to preserve our heritage, shellfish industry and the natural beauty of our river.

Glen Melvin
vice chair, Waldoboro Shellfish Conservation Committee

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