The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has banned research-related oyster cultivation. Oysters are excellent contaminant filters and as such, are a boon to polluted waters, such as those in New Jersey. However, you wouldn't want to eat the oysters that are busily filtering and reclaiming the water in polluted harbors, which is why, apparently, the "New Jersey Department of Completely Bonkers" has banned their cultivation, preferring toxic water and no bivalves to clean water and toxic bivalves:
If you apply the same math to the oyster decision, then the decision still doesn't make any sense. Say there's a one-in-1,000 chance of contaminated oysters being found, chosen, removed, entered into the human-consumption supply chain, eaten, and ultimately damaging the New Jersey shellfish industry to the tune of say 25% of sales. Let's put the costs of the decision at $10 million: multiply that by 1,000 and you get $10 billion. 25% of New Jersey shellfish sales is $200 million. So you're essentially spending $50, here, for every dollar you save. It makes no sense.
New Jersey's crazy war on oysters
I suspect that what's happening here is a result of lobbying by the New Jersey shellfish industry, which will suffer no harm at all as a result of this decision. They're surely happy about it. But they seem also to have a callous disregard for NY/NJ Baykeepers, for the environmental protection of New Jersey's estuaries, and for New Jersey's taxpayers more generally.
If similar reclamation schemes are a big success in the Chesapeake and elsewhere -- which also have commercial shellfish operations nearby -- they should work in New Jersey as well. So I hope there's some small chance that Martin will do the right thing and change his mind. Maybe New Jersey's oyster lovers can explain to him that they're not worried about their food, so he shouldn't be worried about it either.
(via Making Light
(Image: Bed, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from feetwet's photostream)
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