With a week to go before an Army Corps of Engineers public hearing on his controversial application to harvest oysters in Long Island Sound, a Westport doctor has gone on the public relations offensive.
Dr. John M. Garofalo, 49, took out a full-page ad in todays Westport News and contributed a commentary defending the proposal, which involves using suspended traps off of Westport.
Recreational boaters have opposed the application, saying it causes safety concerns as well as disrupts sailboat races.
In the ad, headlined ғSave the Oyster! GarofaloԒs company, Mariculture Unlimited, LLC, said the project, which also involves a larger area off of Milford, Conn., is aimed at saving the New England oyster industry.
Without new technologies and successful grassroots enterprises, natural oyster populations on Long Island Sound will become a pleasure of the past,Ӕ it said.
In his commentary, which is also published on Maricultures Web site, Garofalo said, ғI think that some of the oppositions tactics have been to exaggerate the scope and effects of our initial proposal.Ҕ
He said he had offered a compromise proposal to the Cedar Point Yacht Club but that it was rejected. It included an offer to decrease the size of the requested oyster farm from 366.8 acres to approximately 25 acres, Garofalo said.
MaricultureӒs compromise proposal is reasonable, non-threatening and, in fact, advantageous to our community, he said.
Garofalo said he is not proposing a nuclear power plant and does not represent any outside corporate developer.
ԓI am simply your neighbor and I have been for 20 years, he said. “I live and work in our community.
ԓMy family and I sail, fish, dig clams and play on our water with you—and we care as much as you do about protecting everyone֒s recreational water activities.
The Army Corps of Engineers hearing is scheduled for July 23 in Milford.