Oyster project is scrapped

BROOKSVILLE — Just two days after a long and contentious public hearing last Tuesday night, the Department of Marine Resources announced that Thomas Atherton had withdrawn his application for a Limited Purpose Aquaculture Lease to grow oysters and clams on nearly four acres of the 10-acre Mill Pond at the head of Smith Cove.

According to an email from Diantha Robinson, the DMR aquaculture hearing officer who ran the Tuesday hearing, Atherton advised her that he was taking the action “in the best interest of the clam harvesters.”

Robinson said Atherton told her he had reached his decision “after hearing testimony from shellfish harvesters and DMR staff regarding the extent of commercial clam harvesting in the Mill Pond” because he did not “wish to interfere with any ongoing clam projects or harvesting activity in the Mill Pond.”

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