2013-02-15 / Front Page

Green light given for oyster operation

Nonesuch Oysters to work out of Pine Point
By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Abigail Carroll was given the go-ahead last week to use the Pine Point Pier to operate Nonesuch Oysters, her commercial oyster operation. Marine Resource Officer David Corbeau said the operation will not impact the other activities and businesses at the newly constructed pier (Michael Kelley photo) Abigail Carroll was given the go-ahead last week to use the Pine Point Pier to operate Nonesuch Oysters, her commercial oyster operation. Marine Resource Officer David Corbeau said the operation will not impact the other activities and businesses at the newly constructed pier (Michael Kelley photo) The working waterfront near the Pine Point Pier will be getting a little more diverse this summer.

At the Scarborough Town Council meeting Wednesday, Feb. 6, Abigail Carroll was given the go-ahead by the council to use the Pine Point Pier to operate Nonesuch Oysters, her commercial oyster business.

“We have been raising oysters in Scarborough and it has gone quite well on many levels,” Carroll said. “It’s been a really fun adventure and it’s been gratifying.”

The biggest part of the process, Carroll told councilors, was providing a nursery for the young oysters to grow before they were transferred to an oyster farm to continue their development. Carroll had operated the nursery in space she leased by Snow Canning Lane, but found the water quality was not right. Marine Resource Officer David Corbeau said the water was not salty enough. Oysters, especially young ones, thrive in salty waters.

Rather than struggle through the process in Scarborough, Carroll moved the nursery aspect to Biddeford. The oyster farm operation, however, stayed in Scarborough.

“While it worked well, it was not ideal to have the operations spread all over Saco Bay,” said Carroll, a resident of Biddeford

Town Councilor Richard Sullivan said he supported Carroll’s request to construct an upweller on the pier to support her oyster business. An upweller is a system that pumps water throughout a series of cages to give young oysters the nutrients they need to grow.

“I fully support it. We have a nice working waterfront down there and I think this is perfect for it,” he said.

Carroll said the waterfront community has embraced her efforts in raising oysters.

“It’d be a benefit for us to work at the pier because there is so much interest in it. It’s been fun for us to entertain the tourists with our oyster stories,” Carroll said. “We have had a nice welcome from the folks at the pier and the waterfront community.”

Corbeau said Carroll’s operation will not impact any boat traffic or activities at the pier.

Scarborough Town Manager Tom Hall said the agreement is for one year and is unlike a traditional lease in that the town can terminate it at anytime, for any reason. Carroll is being charged $420 to offset the electricity costs for operating the upweller. Hall said there could soon be a fee that is levied to commercial users of the pier. When, and if, that happens Carroll will pay that fee like the other commercial businesses using the pier.

Town Councilor Ed Blaise felt the $420 charge was too low, especially given the fact that other businesses are charged thousands of dollars simply to use parking spaces on town land.

“I know we are trying to be more business friendly, but we need to be consistent with how we support our businesses,” Blaise said.

Town Council Chairman Ron Ahlquist said since this is the first request of its kind, it is difficult to determine exactly what figure would be appropriate to charge Carroll.

Councilor James Benedict agreed.

“The price the first time around is really a guess. I don’t know how you could make it more,” he said. “I think we need to give it a year to see how it transpires, to see if it is a good marriage and a good fit for everybody.”

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