“It took 150 years of persistent activity to destroy much of the ecology of Narragansett Bay. Let’s be just as persistent in its restoration.” ~Philip M. Larson
Providence – The state Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) on Tuesday unanimously approved the application of Philip Larson to conduct an educational aquaculture program in the waters of Sheffield Cove.
Jamestown resident and Chair of the Jamestown Aquaculture Movement (JAM), Larson began the approval process for an educational and ecologically sustainable aquaculture program in 2011.
“Three years ago I had asked for the permit to allow for the project to take place in closed waters for the nursery stage and conditional waters for the grow-out location,” said Larson in an announcement letter to JAM members. “as the product was not intended for consumption, I thought it might be allowed.”
Larson spoke of the experience of navigating the approval process, regulatory protections and complex scrutiny attached to each and every application for unique work in coastal waters. Larson’s initial request, an oyster nursery and grow-out in “closed and conditional waters” carried with it that burden.
Working with the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the CRMC, Larson’s journey through the regulatory system came to a successful end on Tuesday. His most recent application, submitted in February was approved, after he agreed to conduct his 3-year educational project in state-approved “open” waters.
“I am happy to report that my application for an educational aquaculture permit was approved,” said Larson. “I have a great team and we are looking forward to raising some terrific “Dutch Treats” next summer and teaching local students and the public the value of aquaculture.”
Larson and his team of aquaculture support professionals plans to reach out to local schools and the public to participate in the program that includes education on the history of oysters and aquaculture in Narragansett Bay, bi-valve education, initial set and monitoring of the nursery and grow-out locations, data collection and reporting, as well as multi-media documentation of the project.
Larson plans to continue to work with the aquaculture community to promote the need for sanctuary growing in closed and conditional ponds in order to advance the oyster and bi-valve population, their natural cleansing abilities in the Bay and capacity for the creation of healthy reef biodiversity.
“It has taken 200 years to destroy 85% of the world’s oyster habitat. We will not repair this damage overnight,” said Larson.
In full disclosure, as a member of the Jamestown Aquaculture Movement, I support aquaculture, as well as the advancement, protection and restoration of healthy and diverse fisheries in our coastal waters and Narragansett Bay.