Trading is delaying

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to sense the fallibility of the so-called “Nutrient Trading Program.” (SeeScience panel urges states to take a longer look at trading programs,” February 2006.)

As I understand the program, if Company “A” has a satisfactory nutrient control system, it can “sell” the value of its excess nutrient control to Company “B.”

The immediate result is no net gain for nutrient control because Company A allows Company B to delay its implementation of nutrient control.

This is 2006, and any company that is not aware of the need for nutrient controls or other environmental measures must have its head in the sand.

Stop playing the delaying game: Require companies to meet their obligations.

Everyone must work to save the Bay.

William G. Huppert
Baltimore County Commission on Environmental Quality

Locally produced foods may be better than organic

It’s true, nearly 15 percent of all organic food sold in the United States is imported and the figure is rising daily. (See Demand for organic food growing faster than domestic supply,” March 2006.) But it is not true that we import much organic food from Europe.

Currently, fresh organic vegetables that show up in supermarkets are from Mexico. Many organic milk products, such as yogurt, come from New Zealand. Whole Foods Market’s house brand organic wine is made in Argentina.  Most organic oatmeal and canola oil is produced in Canada.

And China is not just for cheap television sets, more than 500,000 acres are now producing organic fruit and grains, most of which is imported to the United States.

Whether food that has traveled thousands of miles to the consumer can be considered truly organic is one of several ongoing debates now circulating in the organic community.

If issues such as global warming, emissions and declining resources concern consumers, they should consider buying local, even if it is not organic.

Luddene Perry
Author of “A Field Guide To Buying Organic”

Aquaculture the answer for Chesapeake’s oysters

My complements to the Bay Journal and Dr. Gary Smith for publishing an informative scientific analysis on oyster restoration. (See “It’s not a matter of which oyster—but if any oyster—could thrive in Bay,” February 2006.) Smith correctly identifies the magnitude of effort required, suggests actions to improve restoration results and identifies technologies to assist in monitoring and evaluating restoration activities. He also realistically presents the commitment and time required to undertake restoration on this scale.

I wholeheartedly support science-based restoration activities and personally conduct these activities on a smaller scale with a different species, the bay scallop. The oyster industry here in Massachusetts, though, is a completely aquacultured product. There are fishermen who divide their time between fishing and shellfish farming.

Training programs have successfully assisted interested individuals in getting started in the aquaculture business.

Oyster farming in the Chesapeake is considered an increasingly important component of oyster restoration. Sustainable aquaculture can re-establish consumer interest in Chesapeake resources, maintain the existing maritime infrastructure, offer traditional harvesters an additional economic option compatible with their lifestyle and provide a market-based boost for oyster recovery.

Aquaculture in the classroom programs have verified the younger generation’s interest; let’s give them the opportunity to work on the water and continue the Chesapeake tradition.

Training-demonstration sites could be established that serve as an educational resource for local schools, develop appropriate aquaculture systems, train interested participants and function as research areas for Chesapeake scientists. These sites will be a spawning ground for new aquaculturists, offer long-term research opportunities and attract attention to the oyster resource.

As new aquaculture businesses develop, others take notice and oyster production rapidly increases.

Rob Garrison
Nantucket Aquaculture
Nantucket, MA