Letter: Pollution news hurts shellfish industry
Bombarding the public with negative publicity will surely undermine confidence in what we produce—oysters and clams. It would appear that the people who pump out pollution news are worth more to the Commonwealth than we, the producers.
No doubt about it, membership dues, government contracts and advertising spell big bucks for VIMS, universities, non-government organizations and the media. A letter recently sent in to a Richmond newspaper was headlined "Animal waste fertilizer pollutes the bay." Could I point out that Tayloe Murphy was responsible for writing legislation which dealt with this very issue? And guess who sent this kick in the pants in to the paper? None other than a member of VOGG, Virginia Oyster Growing Groupies.
You gave oyster growers money to buy seed and equipment and now these guys have their hands out to get a buck and a half for each oyster they sell! A dog chasing its tail would be a polite way to describe that bit of nuttiness. But isn’t justification for the subsidies based on the theory that oysters, filter feeders, perform important, cost-effective ecosystem services?
You probably don’t know that down long stretches of the major rivers in the bay the bottom has been carpeted with filter feeders, clams … and to what avail? By comparison, whatever the hobbyists do, it’s far-fetched to think they could even nick the sheer volume of nutrients finding its way into the water.
Technically speaking, large numbers of oysters grown in suspension in restricted-flow, poorly flushed creeks will cause problems. When the theory that oysters clean up the bay is presented with the facts, numbers and a watertight conclusion, I’ll drive a gold-plated Cadillac with Oprah Winfrey in the passenger seat to hear the lecture at VIMS.
Hitler had a Minister of Propaganda who knew that if you tell a big enough lie often enough, the people will believe it. Achtung, y’all.
George B. DeMarco
Pepper Creek Shellfish Farm