A plan to farm scallops and oysters on the Niantic River met strong opposition from residents at a community meeting for the Waterford East Lyme Shellfish Commission Thursday. The plan would give the Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm 6.4 acres of the Niantic River for farming.
Opponents are concerned that the public will no longer be able to enjoy the river once farming begins.
“I like to swim in the river and I’d like to continue to swim in the river. I’m afraid that won’t happen if this proposal is passed,” Frances Violante said.
Other Waterford residents are worried that shellfish farming will negatively impact the health and appearance of the Niantic River.
“We’re working hard to help save the river and save the hills,” Robert Dutton said. “I don’t think this is going to help save the river.”
The plan has already received the commission’s approval, but still needs the authorization of the U.S. Amy Corps of Engineers to install the needed infrastructure for the farm.
Opponents are asking the engineers to take a second look at the plan to delay the farm’s opening.
Timothy Londregan III, the owner of the Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm, believes opponents concerns are unwarranted.
“It’s doing a good that we really need, “Londregan said, “Shellfish aquaculture is a net positive for communities and the environment.”
Residents will have until next Saturday to submit their concerns in writing to the Army Corps of Engineers.