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Advocates Join Together In Saving Shore Clam Population

DELMARVA - Elected officials, aquaculturalists, the local advocacy group Save Our Necks and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation all are jockeying for membership on a state committee that will determine regulations to protect the Eastern Shore's massive clam industry from pollution generated by residential development.

The push for additional protection for aquaculture originated with Gov. Tim Kaine, who requested ways be identified to encourage alternatives to the discharge of wastewater from treatment facilities.

An informational meeting this month led by state Department of Environmental Quality officials was the start of a two-year process to determine the final shape of a regulation imposing stricter water quality standards in areas designated as Shellfish Aquaculture Enhancement Zones.

Aquaculture is one of the Shore's economic hallmarks -- studies show 178 million clams were produced in 2005, up from just 30 million 14 years earlier. In 2003, aquaculture pumped $32.5 million into the state economy.

But some people fear the zone will derail area attempts at municipal wastewater treatment facilities. A report released earlier this month shows 26 shoreline areas in Accomack County already are closed to shellfish harvesting because of contamination from failing septic systems and lagoons.

Source: DelmarvaNow

Further Reading

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