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Controversial Shellfish Farm Gets Final Approval For 35-Acre Maquoit Bay Lease

Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher Thursday gave final approval to lease 35 acres in Brunswick's Maquoit Bay for a controversial shellfish farm. The owners of the Mere Point Oyster Company want to grow as many as a half million oysters in the bay.  But the project is drawing strong opposition from shorefront neighbors and from some lobstermen worried about access to traditional harvest areas.  

"All of the filings and evidence were considered under the constraints of statute and regulation," says Department of Marine Resources spokesman Jeff Nichols, "so there is nothing unusual about the way we conducted and adjudicated this process."

Opponents who formed the Mere Point Preservation Group say the agency cherry-picked evidence to support its finding that the project would not unduly disrupt other bay users.  In a press release, spokeswoman Crystal Canney says the decision will be appealed in court.