The fact is, oyster farming is wrong for Seapowet

Posted 8/17/21

To the editor:

Despite continued claims by the Bowens that Seapowet abutters and neighbors are running a misinformation campaign, the facts show otherwise. They are missing the main point: that …

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The fact is, oyster farming is wrong for Seapowet

Posted

To the editor:

Despite continued claims by the Bowens that Seapowet abutters and neighbors are running a misinformation campaign, the facts show otherwise. They are missing the main point: that two people feel they have the right to take away access from the public  without considering those it would most impact. The Bowen’s proposed business that would reduce public access and displace thousands who use RI conservation land and waters, seems in stark contrast to conservationists who have been working for years to preserve our beloved Seapowet Wildlife Management and Fishing area. And while they claim transparency throughout the application process, it’s clear by the recent uproar, there was no meaningful public input until the community mobilized in June 2021, days before the CRMC vote was scheduled.

Did the Little Compton brothers consider locations that wouldn’t affect conservation and public recreational waters, versus locating their proposed oyster farm just yards off the Seapowet (free, public) Beach? What about regard for the many they seek to displace? We don’t take the pristine beauty of the Seapowet area for granted. We are devoted conservationists, avid kayakers, life-long fishermen, kite surfers, walkers and runners, lovers of all things natural, clean, quiet, and calming. We’re farmers, retirees, tradesmen, businessmen and women, teachers, and students; we run the gamut of lifestyles. We live in small houses, big houses, on the water, near the water and away from the water. We’re regular people who’ve worked long and hard. We pay Tiverton property taxes, support the local economy, enjoy farm fresh produce, savor the fresh salt air, blue skies, and stunning sunsets. 

For so many of us, our conservation conscience worries about the significant loss the people in the “middle” will face, thousands of nature lovers who will be displaced from the activities they’ve been enjoying for generations. Let’s face it, kids can’t safely swim over oyster cages; kayakers can’t maneuver in and around them without risk; and anglers can’t realistically cast their lines, in any tide, no matter how high or low. They shouldn’t have to, or “find another spot,” as these waters have been specifically designated for them. Those Rhode Islanders who come to the Seapowet Marsh, beach, and conservation areas, for day trips or vacations, to enjoy their free seasonal getaway, away from the craziness and chaos life sometimes pours down on us. They come still when it’s cold, cloudy and gray, windy and rainy, for the solitude and tranquility. During these past two Covid years, Seapowet was more popular than ever. Who is looking after their interests, their constitutional right to enjoy this protected conservation area designated for the public? For the benefit of two men from Little Compton, will we all have to give up on Seapowet Marsh and Fishing Point? It’s time for the CRMC to step up, do their job and help local oyster farmers find more suitable waters.

Russ and Mary Dexter

Tiverton

 

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.