Guest Commentary: Association backs floating bags for aquaculture – UPDATE OPINION – The Barnstable Patriot – Cape Cod & Islands
In the clam department, The Barnstable Patriot has a rebuttal by the president of the Massachusetts Aquaculture Association, Scott Mullin, to Three Bays and the anti-oyster bag forces.
I am trending towards a pro-bag position based on nitrogen reduction. Oysters are excellent de-nitrifiers. I also respect the navigation risk — being an in-shore sculler I stand a higher risk of running into a field of bags than most — but being made aware that there were bag systems used in Cotuit last summer, and not remembering their location, I can’t say they were an issue for me directly. I don’t know. More thought and study required on my part.
“In addition, the nursery systems provide positive ecosystems services in the form of removing nitrogen from the overlying waters. The consumed nitrogen, in the form of phytoplankton, is either incorporated into oyster tissue and harvested or is transitioned to the benthos where it is converted to a form that is unavailable for biological activity, i.e. a non-eutrophic form. In many areas of the country, large public programs, e.g. in Chesapeake Bay, and more locally in Mashpee, are focused on expanding oyster populations to counter the eutrophic conditions resulting from nutrient run-off from land-based sources. In the Three Bays area, local shellfish farmers are taking care of this program for you, at no cost to the public.”