TRENTON — A plan to raise oysters on a five-acre site in Goose Cove, west of Haynes Point in Western Bay, raised little concern and no opposition at what was scheduled as a Department of Marine Resources aquaculture “scoping session” in Trenton.
Brian Harvey of Glenburn filed an application with DMR for a 20-year aquaculture lease to grow oysters in bags anchored on the bottom of six acres below the mean low tide line in Goose Cove. As part of the application process, and before the application is considered final, he was required to hold an informal meeting to introduce the plan to the community and listen to comments on his proposal. Harvey published notice of the meeting in The Ellsworth American, gave notice to owners of shorefront land located within 1,000 feet of the proposed lease site and DMR gave notice of the meeting to the town.
At the appointed hour on Monday, Jan. 27, Harvey and his wife, Brenda, were on hand at the Trenton municipal building and, with Trenton Harbormaster John Bennett and Harbor Committee member Bruce Cameron, waited for the public to join them. Only three people, owners of two parcels of Goose Cove shorefront land near where Harvey wants to raise his oysters, came to the meeting.
With nobody from DMR on hand, Harvey and everyone else seemed confused as to whether their informal chat met the requirements for a scoping session. After Harvey confirmed that he was amending his application to apply for a lease of five, not six, acres and that he would not have any floating gear on the site, the conversation turned to an existing aquaculture lease in Goose Cove for a 50-acre oyster aquaculture lease held by Warren Pettegrow. One of the shorefront owners asked harbormaster Bennett to explain the procedure for obtaining a mooring from the town. There was no apparent opposition to Harvey’s plan.
Despite the confusion, it appears that last week’s soiree was in fact a scoping session. Under DMR’s aquaculture regulations as they were revised last spring, it is up to the department to decide whether to send a representative to those pre-application meetings. The next steps in the process will be for DMR to accept Harvey’s application as final, schedule a visit to the site and, finally, to hold a public hearing. The schedule for those events remains undetermined.