Saturday, June 18, 2016

MDE Shuts Down the Rhode River

To shellfish harvesting
The Maryland Department of the Environment has decided to shut down shellfish operations in the Rhode River starting Monday despite arguments from watermen and scientists who say the move is unwarranted.

The river is home to several oyster beds and aquaculture efforts, some of which have been turning out what some call the best oysters seen in a generation. It was already a conditional shellfish area, which closes for three days after substantial rains.

But MDE officials insist that data culled from monthly measurements of fecal coliform at eight spots in the river, averaged and computed with other information, put the river at risk.

It is another chapter in the struggle between watermen and state government, the regulator and the regulated.

Those whose livelihoods are at stake are crying foul and point to one recent set of numbers they claim set the average askew. They also cite tests that show swimming areas are safe, suggesting the river is clean. . . 
So do you want your shellfish safe, or not?

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