Troubled By Shellfish Proposal
This letter was sent to Dan McKiernan of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and copied to David E. Pierce and Gov. Charles D. Baker.
As a concerned resident of Chatham, I attended your hearing regarding “In-State Sale of Undersized Aquaculture Reared Shellfish” and found the meeting very troubling.
For generations, Chatham shellfishermen have been providing for their families by shellfishing and have been strictly held to the DMF shellfish regulations with respect to minimum size. Aquaculture operations began raising clams nearly 50 years ago. Anyone entering aquaculture was familiar with those Massachusetts DMF regulations with respect to the one-inch size limit. The proposal that the size limit be dropped for growers and maintained for wild clam harvest is discriminatory. With your approval, undersized clams will be sold in Massachusetts by aquaculture farms.
Have you at all considered the black market in undersized, poached wild clams that will undoubtedly spring up as a result of your approval of this proposal? The wild clam fishermen feel they are being treated unfairly; naturally they will also start harvesting undersized clams for the black market. The black market will negatively impact the very resources (wild clams) you are supposed to be protecting.
Several of the wild clam fishermen raised the issue that approval of this proposed regulation will give aquaculture growers an unfair advantage and will significantly lower the price of clams. One fisherman legitimately asked, “If the price of clams falls by 30 percent will the state pay us the difference in income, based on each clammer's historic daily production over the last three years?” You bureaucratically replied by dismissively saying, “that would be another department, not mine.” Your answer spoke volumes and confirms that the DMF and the state have not considered all of the potential implications of their decisions. Additionally, it appeared you have a very cavalier approach to your potential disruption of numerous people's lives who have been clamming for generations.
It sounded as if a decisions had already been made. You repeatedly assured the audience this aquaculture regulation change will have no impact on clam prices. As a gesture of confidence and good faith in your decision, will you agree to a pay cut equal to the percentage that the prices/sales fall in the wild clam market?
Setting The Buccaneer Record Straight
I would like to correct the misinformation about our July Buccaneer parade float.
The float was not just a recycle of the original. The 2014 float was an eight-foot-long model ship on a trailer, and the 2016 float included a seven-foot-long castle with towers built on the back of our truck. This additional display involved a lot of time, effort and materials: wood, plaster, plastic, paint and fabric.
I was a puppeteer during the parade and did not see any bored and comatose spectators. The people that I did see were smiling, laughing, and waving to us and seemed to be enjoying the parade.
I would also like to mention that the pirates of New England during colonial times had close connections with smuggling and other illegal trading in defiance of British laws. These activities grew out of the fierce spirit of independence that finally resulted in the complete break with England.
Beware Dangerous Beach Activities
I just did get a chance to read The Chronicle of July 14 and was horrified to see those children playing soccer at the beach! I thought they outlawed such dangerous activities on our Cape beaches! Shouldn’t those youngsters be safely at home watching TV or playing video games? Where, on earth, are their cell phones? They actually appear to be having fun while getting some exercise. Deplorable! Next thing you know they’ll want to play with tennis balls, footballs or, heaven forbid, Frisbees! The road to perdition is a slippery slope. At some point, they’ll want to fly kites at the beach! Little did we know what danger we were subjecting ourselves and others to when we were kids. We know better now. And to think that the Harwich Police Department is complicit in such dereliction! Just what has our world come to?