Letter: Bowens' oyster farm plan — let's face the facts

Posted 7/7/22

Much like the “Wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round,” two Little Compton Bowen brothers go ‘round and ‘round with their specious protests and arguments for …

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Letter: Bowens' oyster farm plan — let's face the facts


Much like the “Wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round,” two Little Compton Bowen brothers go ‘round and ‘round with their specious protests and arguments for establishing an oyster farm smack dab in the middle of Tiverton’s Seapowet Marsh and Fishing area. Come on, boys, it’s long past time to face the facts. The truth is that this area, immediately off the Sakonnet River shore, is a designated recreational, conservation area, tagged for public use. Stop insisting that squeezing a commercial oyster farm into a tiny parcel of land, right off the Seapowet public beach, sandwiched between two long time Tiverton residents is a good thing for anyone but you two! And the good people of Tiverton who are  trying to prevent you from destroying this pristine natural marine habitat, and all of its peaceful tranquility, and the recreational activities that have gone on here for more than (x) years, are not mean, selfish, unaccommodating, part time or rich. 

Stop espousing your nonsense, as you continue to try to fool people into believing that it’s OK for the two of you to turn this public recreation area where thousands of them try to swim, sail, kayak and canoe, into an oyster farm.

Stop claiming that it’s rich summer residents who are trying to dominate the waterfront and prevent you from establishing your oyster farm. You’re trying to set up a commercial oyster operation in the middle of the Seapowet Marsh and Fishing area! When people ask you where the fishermen will go to fish, you shrug them off and tell them they can go elsewhere. Some place other than Seapowet Marsh and Fishing area, specifically designated for fishing? Are you for real?

You insist people can swim in between your oyster cages. Your own plans show that at an average low tide the cages are hidden under just two inches of water! Injuries be damned, we’re guessing? Your proposals show photos of sandbars on each side of your farm that will prevent kayakers from entering the marsh area. Can you imagine kite surfers slamming into your cages at the high speeds they’re prone to following in with a strong wind? No, probably not.

You think it’s part time, summer residents who are against you. But you ignore that, in addition to trying to to personally takeover a public recreation area, your tiny land parcel abuts three other residential properties. And these three properties are owned by full time Tiverton residents. In fact, for two of these properties, the land has been in the same family for at least two generations.These residents are not rich and they’re not part time, summer only.

You bought your piece of land in 2021 for $100,000. You can’t build a house on it, or install a septic system. So, you’re now claiming you have to put an oyster farm on it; two poor, hardworking farmers who are being prevented from establishing their little operation. But last time anyone checked, neither of you are farmers by profession, and you’re both gainfully employed full time in Massachusetts Not farmers, not poor.

We don’t know where the Sakonnet Times got the idea that the proposed state law to prevent oyster farms within 1000 feet from shore is unworkable due to the distance that farmer would need to travel. But since the Times' article only mentions the Bowens, we can speculate and  once again, it’s nonsense. Just a short distance from the proposed Bowen farm is a working oyster farm. The farm is in Little Compton but the owner moors his boat at Fogland Beach in Tiverton. The oyster farm has been operating for many years even though the boat is moored more than a half mile away.

The Bowens ask where is the due process. Good question. If the process was working as it should, these Little Compton brothers would have been told that they can not obstruct the use of a public recreation areas. Instead, too much time has been wasted at the CRMC, the DEM and the Town of Tiverton, let alone the time and costs of concerned residents.

It seems to many of us that the Bowens’ approach is if you can’t justify your proposal with the facts, throw up the flak instead. Why not find a more suitable, appropriate location?

Russ and Mary Dexter


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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.