Scarborough rivers proposed for 3 oyster farms

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SCARBOROUGH — More oysters could soon be farmed in local rivers. 

Two lease applicants are holding a scoping session on Monday, Oct. 23, at 6 p.m. at the Scarborough Municipal building, 295 U.S. Route 1.

Matthew Hassler and Robert Willette have scheduled the session, as required by the Maine Department of Marine Resources application process. 

An email to the applicants was not returned by press time Thursday.

The public scoping session “will discuss a proposed aquaculture lease application to raise American/Eastern oysters using suspended culture techniques in three proposed locations,” according to a press release from the DMR.

Two of the three proposed locations are in the Nonesuch River in Scarborough and the third is in the Spurwink River on the border of Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth.

Information provided by DMR indicates that more than 3 acres in the two areas on the Nonesuch River are in the lease application. The size was not indicated for the Spurwink River. 

Willette is a member of the town’s Shellfish Conservation Commission and has served as the chairman.

Town Councillor Peter Hayes, who serves as a liaison to the Shellfish Conservation Commission, said Nonesuch Oysters and Pine Point Oysters already operate oyster farms in the Nonesuch River. 

Jeff Nichols, communications director for the DMR, said the session is the first step in the process of getting lease application approved. Notices are sent to communities and landowners adjacent to the lease site. 

The sessions are designed to provide an opportunity for residents to learn about the proposals and to have an informal discussion with applicants.

  Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.