A different take on the ANP harvesting issue

Dear Editor:

On Aug. 24, Rep. Bruce Poliquin conducted a meeting, which I attended, of coastal workers worried about their access to tidelands in Acadia National Park. They testified that they had been harvesting worms, clams and seaweed but might be forbidden to do so in the future. Mr. Poliquin assured them that he would help them get permission to continue their harvesting in the park.

The meeting proceeded like a rally for justice against government officials, characterized by Mr. Poliquin and most of the harvesters as uncaring and unaware. But there is more to the story. The National Park Service is mandated by law to protect the flora and fauna in its lands for the permanent benefit of the American people, and thus from commercial exploitation. This includes intertidal lands.

Notably, the meeting focused on jobs; virtually no mention of resource limits, sustainability, conservation or resource science took place. Yet we all know that almost every significant fishery on the Maine coast has been depleted, mostly by overharvesting. Leaving part of the coastline undisturbed, such as the intertidal zone in a federal park, makes good sense.

Politicians tend to give us short-term solutions because we reward them at the polls for doing so. But if we want our children to be able to make a living in coastal resource harvesting, we should recognize that our best friends are the scientists, resource managers and conservationists who work for sustainability.

Ken Ross


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