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Letter: Clearing Up The Facts

Friends of the Bay regrets that readers of the Enterprise-Pilot may have been misled by Frances Leone’s letter to the editor in the August 13, 2014 edition. The author of that letter does not represent nor speak for this organization.

There were a number of inaccuracies in the letter, as well as assertions not supported by data.

Friends of the Bay has taken no position with regard to the allegation that mechanical harvesters used by the Frank M. Flower & Sons shellfish farm cause widespread harm to marine life.

There is no consensus on this question in the scientific community; Friends of the Bay has reviewed scientific papers and literature reviews encompassing more than 200 papers on the subject and continues to seek impartial, data-based, peer-reviewed scientific assessments. Our website provides links to these documents.

It should be noted that recent testing carried out by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation has found “ no public health significance or concern for metal contaminants in oysters and hard clams” in local shellfish. Re-suspension of metals is alleged to be a consequence of the shellfish farm’s practices.

It must be borne in mind that we the public are witnessing a commercial dispute between competitors in the shellfish business. The North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association’s stated goal is to put the Flower Shellfish Farm out of business. Their lawsuit against the farm and the Town is currently working its way through the state courts.

Friends of the Bay encourages and remains ready and eager to support meaningful discussions among all stakeholders and experts to find a balanced and constructive resolution to this dispute. It is our belief that both the shellfish farm and the baymen can prosper while we sustain an environmentally healthy and productive Bay.

The Board of Directors of Friends of the Bay