Productive Bays - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2169201

Productive Bays

My name is Matt Parsons, and I want to declare that I am strongly pro-shellfish and am running for Southampton Town Trustee.

If given the opportunity to serve you, I will use my marine biology background, experience as a commercial bayman and previous work as a conservationist to bring back the health and productivity of our bays for our future generations to enjoy.

When I was young, my father told me about clamming on the Great South Bay when he was growing up and how many families could earn a living off the water. We all know that the bays aren’t what they used to be. But we don’t all know that can be reversed.

My goal is to restore the bays by harnessing the power of the bays themselves. Through enhanced shellfish seeding programs and overseeing the management of our bays and shorelines using innovative habitat management, I will work hard to restore the health and vitality of our beloved bays.

The Town of East Hampton already has its own dedicated shellfish hatchery. The Town of Southampton does not, and I would like to change that. By significantly increasing the number of clams, oysters, scallops and mussels in our bays, we will use their natural filtration and sediment anchoring to improve the quality of our waters and enhance biodiversity and financial productivity.

When I worked as a biologist for Cornell Cooperative Marine Program, we spent a lot of time working underwater in the bays to try to restore some of the critical bay scallop habitat.

Later, as a fisheries observer for National Marine Fisheries, I spent over a thousand days at sea working on, among other things, the Closed Area Scallop program, which created sanctuaries where sea scallops could grow, thrive and spawn, jump-starting the productivity of the entire region.

Since 2006, I’ve gone clamming and scalloping commercially every year and have seen firsthand both the substantial economic impact that a good harvest can bring to a community but also our bays’ challenges.

As a father of three, I’m proud to say that my children can spot and dig out razor clams at low tide, eat a scallop straight out of the shell, and pull up hard clams with their toes.

Like you, I want to leave our future generations a more robust, healthy and productive bay than I started with. And as you can see from my background, I will be able to deliver.

It begins with your support and electing me to the Southampton Town Trustees in November.

Matt Parsons

East Quogue