Editors, Vineyard Gazette;

As a resident of Lagoon Pond with an aquaculture plot right in front of my house, I have to say I am shocked that the Natural Resources Advisory Committee essentially let the foxes draft the document for henhouse security.

Shellfish constable Danielle Ewart — a reliable voice for science and for our environment — clearly states her objections to most of the proposed changes, and suggests that our current regulations are not in need of change. I heartily agree with her. One example of the proposed changes, eliminating the need for shellfish aquaculture applicants to submit their supporting paperwork to the town, is almost laughably self-serving.

Given the unsightly nature of floating cages, as opposed to floats for submerged cages, I would hope in particular that we would continue the ban on the former. My colleagues at the Lagoon Pond Association have uncovered scientific papers which suggest that we would need to raise one million oysters per year on the pond to get the desired nitrogen reduction that I believe is part of the motivation for aquaculture. I’m imagining what the pond would look like with cages floating on it that were requisite to raise one million oysters.

I know for a fact that the folks at Husselton Head — in front of my house — have had difficulties raising shellfish in their assigned plot because it turns out the environment below the surface is not suitable. Hence their desire to have an approval of floating cages.

In summary, I’m not sure we need to revise the regulations regarding henhouse security to accommodate the needs of the foxes. There is essentially nothing wrong with the regulations as they are currently written.

David Forbes

Vineyard Haven