The recent Tri-Town Weekly article, “Some clammers steamed about aquaculture,” was a great example of how some people refuse to recognize change and adapt, even when the world around them is rapidly changing. Using anecdotal observations and labeling scientists or people perceived as outsiders as “threats” are standard operating procedures used by those who choose to ignore mounting evidence that challenges what they want to believe – that nothing is wrong.
The fact of the matter is that the applied scientific research that Dr. Brian Beal has and continues to conduct provides clammers, fishing families and natural resource managers with objective and critical scientific information. This data has given the shellfish industry the ability to better predict the future and initiate innovative strategies that can sustain jobs as well as uphold the cultural characteristics associated with a working waterfront.
The take-home message to people who want to know what is behind the dramatic changes in our coastal environment is that, without question, predation is the No. 1 cause of all shellfish mortality. Predation rates rise and fall with water temperatures and no other water body on planet earth is warming faster than the Gulf of Maine. In my opinion, aside from predation, the biggest threat to Maine’s marine fisheries is the ignorance and denial of those who believe the best plan is pretend all is well, stick their heads in the mudflats and hope for the best.