BLUE HILL — A longtime oyster farmer wants to expand his operations in the Salt Pond by nearly 50 percent and has filed an application with the Department of Marine Resources for a 20-year standard aquaculture lease covering 7.25 acres divided between two tracts near Carlton Island.
DMR has scheduled a scoping session on the proposal for 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, at Blue Hill Town Hall.
Tightrope Farms currently leases three tracts totaling 17.45 acres in the Salt Pond used for the suspended culture of American oysters. In a preliminary lease application recently filed with DMR, Tightrope Farms President Evan Young said the intent of the lease expansion was to shift the operation from growing small oysters to market size in cages to growing them to market size on the bottom.
The scoping session is designed to give the public the opportunity to learn about the proposed lease and to have an informal discussion with Young about his plans. A copy of the draft application for the proposed lease is posted on the DMR website’s aquaculture page: maine.gov/dmr.aquaculture.
This represents a change from DMR’s earlier rules that called for a scoping session before a draft application was filed. Those rules were criticized for not giving the public an opportunity to see what the proposed lessee was planning and because the proposal discussed in the scoping sessions were sometimes substantially different from the activities outlined in the formal lease application that followed.
If the June 27 scoping session is postponed, it will be held at the same time and place on Thursday, July 11.