Maine's Department of Marine Resources (DMR) is giving an initial thumbs up to a controversial oyster farm proposed for Brunswick's Maquoit Bay.
The draft permit is a victory for the Mere Point Oyster Company, which wants to expand operations to a 40-acre area of the bay, with the potential to bring up its annual harvest from fewer than 100,000 oysters to as many as 1.5 million.
The proposal drew stiff opposition from some shorefront landowners and lobstermen who feared it could affect quality of life and create conflicts on the water with recreational and commercial boats.
DMR spokesperson Jeff Nichols says the drawn-out permitting review has been unusually complicated. He says the agency's goals include minimizing conflicts among users of the public resource.
"A lot of the decisions do include conditions that will allow for other activity, including fishing activity in and around the lease site,” he says. “That's part of our practice and part of our decision-making process here."
Parties to the review have until early November to comment on the draft permit, which was first reported by the Times Record.