Here are some short and to the point facts that need to be printed on Marc Castelli’s Spy op-ed article regarding Man O’War Shoals:
1. The writer of this article evidently does not know the difference between fake news and what he has presented as intentional deception. It appears the majority of his comments have been taken way out of context.
2. The area that he refers to at Man O’War Shoals is only a small portion of the bar and will not affect the sanctuary portion or the so-called planted area of that bar.
3. Do state that 5 million bushels is insignificant in Oyster restoration is absolutely ludicrous. At the present time our money in the industry is being spent on under a hundred thousand bushels a year from Virginia, with some excellent seed from Virginia and also some not so favorable spat on shell from local producers here in Maryland. This may be a five-year project, but one has to start somewhere and modification will occur on this permit through the course of dredging. So to downplay the five million bushels appears to all of us that the writer has other intentions of where the money should be spent.
4. For the writer to say that the MWA and the MOA have supported this dredging program since 2006 is not truthful. First of all the MOA was not established until 2007. I know this because myself, and 3 other gentlemen from Kent County and a lobbyist from Annapolis met in the back room of PE Pruett’s restaurant in Rock Hall to start this organization. I never remember seeing the writer at any of these meetings. And most important of all, the MWA does not support the dredging of man o war Shoals and has stated this in public meetings and in public comment. Every other watermen’s group around the state and specifically on the Eastern Shore firmly support the dredging of man o war Shoals. Even the largest group on the Eastern Shore Talbot County used the non-support of MWA on Man O War Shoals as the main reason they are no longer affiliated with them.
5. To say that DFA piggybacks on the success of MWA and MOA is another comment made by the writer of purposeful deception. DFA is comprised of leaders not followers, and has set the bar on many occasions over the past several years on issues concerning the Chesapeake Bay and the seafood industry. This is only been met with opposition both publicly and behind curtains from both of these organizations. One must ask themselves where are they on all the current issues of Bay health and the seafood industry. We hear hardly anything out of them. Many Waterman don’t even know who the MOA is or what they do. The DFA attends meetings such as the ASMFC, MID ATLANTIC COUNCIL,G.I.T. CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM, AND ALL THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETING OF THE BAY COMMISSION.
We hardly ever see anybody from these two groups at these meetings, and specifically have never seen the MOA at any of these meetings. So how can one piggyback on these associations when they have no back at all??
6. The one thing that the writer of this article does accomplish is that he drives a wedge of division between all user groups in Maryland through this article. At DFA we understand it is very important for all of us to work together on issues concerning the seafood industry in Maryland and the health of the Chesapeake Bay. To have this writer, once again set forth his wedge driving comments is disgusting. Once again purposeful deception is being used. The MWA recently had a vote among their executive board to have nothing to do with DFA. On many occasions DFA is extended the olive branch over the past years to this group only to have it returned with bad news all over it.
We still stand firm in saying that we all must work together, but as proven recently on an issue in the st. Mary’s River, this group continues to undermine everything that DFA does with its members to benefit the commercial Seafood industry in Maryland. DFA still hopes that all of us can join together as one common voice, and this is evident by the information that we put out not only on our website but to other organizations involved in the seafood industry in Maryland.
In summary, it is easy enough to say that we all must work together and stop listening to these people that want to drive a wedge of division amongst us for their own personal gain. Maybe this writer of this article should make his living working with the seafood industry full time and put down his brushes and stop painting his dirty picture of our industry and those that are working to make it better.
Robert Newberry is the chair of Delmarva Fisheries Association Inc.