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Letter: Doing What’s Best For The Bay

Friends of the Bay is very concerned with the current controversy regarding commercial shellfishing in Oyster Bay. At the heart of our concern is the welfare of the bay, which today is one of the healthiest and most productive in the western Sound.

Over the past few weeks we have met with representatives of the Town of Oyster Bay, Frank M. Flower & Sons shellfish farm, and the North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association (NOBBA.)

Our purpose in these meetings was to lend our efforts toward a resolution which would enable the two commercial shellfishing interests to prosper while engaging in a sustainable, managed fishery which also contributes to the health of the bay.

Friends of the Bay makes no judgment on the business aspects of this dispute. Neither do we make any judgment with regard to matters of law. Our actions to date have been motivated by the belief that a negotiated settlement could benefit all parties, including the bay itself.

Independent commercial shellfishermen - the Baymen - have raised the question of the impact on bay health of harvesting shellfish by hydraulic dredge.

In its 25-year history, Friends of the Bay has always based its judgments on the best available data and facts. In the field of marine science, data is not always available and therefore specific conclusions can be difficult to establish. Nonetheless, Friends of the Bay has and will always carry out due diligence to find and consider all available scientific knowledge on a given issue before stating an opinion or making a recommendation.

We have asked NOBBA to provide us with all documentation they have located while we carry out our own independent research of the literature and interview marine scientists with knowledge in this field. We will make available all pertinent literature we discover. We will draw no conclusions until this research is completed. Further, we must weigh other factors impacting the bay, and any potential unintended consequences of changes in current practice.

We invite you to visit our website to learn more about our efforts to preserve, restore and protect our most important natural resource: Oyster Bay. Please visit us at www.friendsofthebay.org to learn more about our efforts around this important subject.

The Board of Directors

Friends of the Bay

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