Testimony begins in multi-day public hearing over oyster company’s proposed 40-acre lease
BRUNSWICK– The public hearing concerning Mere Point Oyster Company’s proposed 10-year, 40-acre lease on Maquoit Bay will continue Monday after nearly four hours of public comment and witness testimony Thursday night.
The Maine Department of Marine Resources conducted the hearing to determine if Mere Point Oyster Company’s proposed expansion, which would increase their yearly oyster harvest from about 60,000 this year to up 1.5 million in the next three years, meet the requirements set forth by the state. These include factors like interference on navigation, fishing and other uses, noise and visual impacts among others, many of which a group known as the Maquoit Bay Preservation Group is concerned about.
Mere Point Oyster owners Doug Niven and harbormaster Dan Devereaux were represented by attorney’s Patrick Lyons and Andrew Hamilton. Niven and Devereaux gave a brief presentation of their three-year, family-run business and the 26 Limited Purpose Aquaculture sites they currently operate. Niven touted oysters as a valuable ecological resource that could add “resiliency along the Brunswick coastline” with their ability to filter water. Their business, if expanded, would allow the younger generations to continue working on the water, they said.