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Letter: Clam grounds restricted on questionable research

Editor, Gazette-Journal:

It is reasonable to expect a thoroughly scrupulous presentation of the facts by a scientist who is requesting that policy be set in anticipation of enforcing legislation. Lecturing VMRC, Dr. Robert Orth, a VIMS PhD, now a candidate for Gloucester supervisor, supported his request for regulations against clam growers by saying underwater grasses have an economic value of $7,700 per acre per year. The contents of his letter were circulated widely by local newspapers.

Questioning the scientific basis for that claim, I directed a researcher to engage Dr. Orth via e-mail. We learned that he apparently did not do the research to produce that figure. Nor had he tried to verify the other person’s research, but had simply quoted the figure by dividing the hectares by 2.47. (There are 2.47 acres per hectare.) When my researcher asked that person for the study and data, no reply was received. Dr. Orth got his way; restrictive resolution was adopted and then fo...

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