2009-01-15 / Letters to the Editor

Help bring aquaculture to Jamestown

I recently completed a book for my son's 21st birthday. There is a chapter that discusses the importance of planting trees. You don't plant trees for yourself, but for those that follow. Jamestowners are very good at planting trees and I consider myself fortunate and proud to be a member of our community. Just recently, we planted a very large tree in the preservation of the central farm's vistas, we own a golf course, we support our local farmers, our new town hall is a gem and we will soon have a new town garage.

And, that brings up the new "tree" that needs to be planted. That "tree" being a shellfish hatchery. Rhode Island does not presently have a commercial hatchery. The Rhode Island shellfish growers must buy their needed spat from out of state. On Monday night, I presented a plan to the Jamestown Town Council that would create a cooperative aquacultural use for the old town garage at Fort Wetherill. The multiple uses that include, but are certainly not limited to: a hatchery for oysters, clams and scallops spat; production of edible seaweeds for market; provision of a site for tide and wind generation power available for community use; development of an accredited training facility for future hatchery managers; provision of additional educational and research space for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, University of Rhode Island, Roger Williams University and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists. And, most importantly, we will take an active role in creating local jobs.

Exterior restoration could be accomplished via available grants for aquacultural persuits and fund raising. Interior design and restoration would fall to the lease holders as a cooperative group. Jamestown would maintain ownership of the building. The plans do not interfere with the Fort Wetherill Boat Owners Association, which provides income to the town. And, in the end, we will have created a viable, sustainable business.

I can see that tree, can't you? There are presently 14 Jamestown Aquaculture Movement members that have joined me in this effort.

Please e-mail me at pmlcec@ aol.com, if you are interested in helping us prepare the table. Phil Larson Jamestown

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