All discussions on Marion aquaculture bylaws to be made public

Mar 22, 2021

MARION — All of the Marine Resources Commission’s discussions on aquaculture and mooring bylaws will be public, as the town takes what Commission Chair Vincent Malkoski called a “conservative” approach to reworking the bylaws.

The town decided to rework its bylaws after a large-scale cleanup of Shea Doonan’s aquaculture site, which cost the town over $10,000, was completed last fall. The Marine Resources Commission has submitted a letter to Selectmen encouraging the board to have Doonan pay for the cleanup, but no decision has yet been made.

Following the cleanup, the town suspended all applications for new aquaculture licenses until new bylaws are in place.

At a Jan. 18 meeting, Harbormaster Isaac Perry told the commission that selectmen are hoping to create new regulations which would require permit holders to purchase a bond that would ensure the town would not have to spend its own money to clean up sites in the future.

At that meeting, Perry said Selectmen also suggested that the town charge more fees related to aquaculture sites.

Currently, the town is only bringing in a $12.50 fee for each of its half-acre sites — a rate mandated by the commonwealth. One way the town is looking to bring in additional revenue, the harbormaster said, is through mooring fees.

Initially, the Marine Resources Commission was going to break into two small groups — one for aquaculture bylaws and another for mooring bylaws — and hold private discussions to be recapped at regular meetings.

Now, the commission is changing its procedure so that whenever more than one member discusses either issue with the harbormaster or Shellfish Warden Adam Murphy, the conversation will be listed as a public meeting.