The Bay of Imbalance

The Bay of Imbalance

A carefully kept secret for generations now, hidden under the waters of New York’s Oyster Bay Harbor, there lives a harsh reality the likes of which too few are aware.  Oysters and clams, the naturally occurring shellfish that gave the bay it’s name centuries ago, barely exist today.  These shellfish were so abundant in the late 1800’s that they became the main source of protein for New Yorker’s.  That’s right, people ate shellfish more than they ate beef.  But today a true Bayman can spend years out on the very waters that fed our nation with those shellfish, without ever seeing an oyster.  Times have changed.  The balance of nature is askew.  But unlike the irreversible stories of animals gone extinct, or vast lands now developed, Oyster Bay’s struggle for life is fixable – because it’s villain is artificial.  It’s villain is greed.  It’s challenge is corruption.  And it’s savior could very well be the small but determined group of men affectionately called “Oyster Bay Baymen.”  Right now these Baymen are neck deep in the fight of their lives – to save their lives, their livelihood, and Oyster Bay Harbor itself.

This “Bay of Imbalance” documentary is a work-in-progress.  It’s goal is to tell the compelling story of Oyster Bay Harbor’s shellfish industry, the Baymen, and this fight of their lives to put a stop to the environmentally devastating shellfish-dredging that still goes on in the bay today. 




40 Responses

  1. I was a bayman in the 70’s on Long Islands South shore. I worked the waters of Bayshore, Patchogue, and Bayport raking and tonging clams. I also worked Peconic Bay for Scallop season. Those were the best years of my life and it is very sad to see what has become of the waters around Long Island. Thank you for all the hard work putting this film together. I am very excited to see it when it becomes available

    • Eric

      Thank you for responding Michael. You sound like you’d make a great interview… :-)

  2. Hey! There’s no way to contact you on your website! You have no contact form or page, and your social media links don’t work.

    I just wanted to say great job on the Bay of Imbalance trailer and shoot. It looks really great. I’m a local amateur filmmaker and photographer, and if you ever needed a free crew member to help you out on a shoot, please keep me in mind. I’d love to help out and eventually start making my own local documentaries. I have my own gear, and I’m ready to go if you need me. thanks!

    • Eric

      You are right Shelly. Thank you for pointing this out to me. This site is pretty green, I will jump on this now. Thank you.

      Where are you located? I’ll keep this in mind

  3. I have been directly involved in the shellfishing industry in NY&CT since 1971 and have much knowledge & experience therein having been a bayman,buyer,boatbuilder,fabricator,inventor & presently owner of Atlantic Clam Farms in Greenwich,CT. I would say that I thoroughly understand the bayman’s plight. I do not agree that commercial shellfish dredging (actually sifting) is as harmful as it may seem and can be very beneficial to the benthic environment for significant reasons and is very misunderstood as no bottom is removed-it must also operated responsibly as it too can be overdone as we saw in littleneck bay in the late 80’s where I captained a dredge boat as well. you see, LI Sound is becoming hypoxic (lack of oxygen) due to nitrogen from sewage plants which actually pales in significance to the fact that the bottom is smothered with trash and silt in layers for the past 100 years or more-there is literally no plant life in LIS west of the NY/CT line- it is virtually dead and will not improve without being remediated and now fish avoid this area -2015 saw “something bad” happen. plastic bags are the chief culprit-put one on your lawn for a hot summer day and you have brown dead spot-the bottom needs to breathe too! Getting back to clam& oyster populations, clams are absolutely tough & will proliferate in any condition regardless of pollution other than hypoxia. oysters on the otherhand are very sensitive to environmental conditions & diseases indeed in the late 90’s there were virtually 0 oysters in western LIS and became abundant around 2003 & are now abundant. in 2011 there was a massive explosion of blue crabs in LIS which devastated the juvenile clam population and today production is low- read Clyde McKenzie’s study of Narragansett,Great South &Barnegat Bays where clam populations are directly related to blue crab populations-those suckers will eat 500+baby clams per day! Back to mechanical clam harvesting as is done in CT-I would welcome discussion where I can prove that it is very environmentally beneficial & promotes benthic health. For example I have removed & dumpsterized in excess of 3 million lbs of trash/garbage from my 2000 acre lease alone-just imagine what’s in the bottom of LIS! also I see that my clam harvests generally increase on my lots as they are worked. This business has been my whole life-7 days 12-15 hrs daily- no one loves this industry more than I! I also empathize with the NY baymen for their feelings and deep love of their proffesion-I spent 4-5 years on GS bay area yanking on the rake 10 hrs a day and still feeling the love of that so special connection to nature that provides and the simplicity that few will ever know! If I can be of help to anyone I’m very available via E-mail Thanks for reading my ramblings!-Ed

    • Thanks for watching Ed. And especially for your comments. Hopefully our work on this film might shed some new light on a few of your points. First this is not the LIS we are focused on, it is Oyster Bay Harbor. I am confident you can appreciate the many differences between a bay and the Sound. Second; I can see why dredging may benefit “your” bottom, in “your” 2000 acre lease area, considering “your” shellfish that your business focuses on. But what about everything else…? What about the fluke, the flounder, the eels, the horseshoe crabs, the starfish, the fish eggs, the organisms so critical to the ecosystem but so small that you couldn’t point one out on a pile of clams on the deck of your dredge if you had a magnifying glass? What about your silt plumes that land days away from your 2000 acres? What about dredging windows? What about the critical months for spawning sea life that leave these developing species vulnerable enough to natures predators, and now a pollution littered bottom; can you really say that sucking these species up through a monstrous hydraulic vacuum and shredding them to bits for the gulls to feed on is good for the environment? Is good for the future of our environment? Is good for anything actually, other than your seeded clams, on your groomed grounds, and the removal of trash that nature has nothing to do with in the first place?

      The way I see it, we all have to share this planet so we all have to make compromises – for others, and for the environment. The real story of the Bay of Imbalance will be told, hopefully, in short time. And when it is, you too will understand that compromises are not being made, for others or for the environment, in Oyster Bay Harbor. And that needs to change.

      Like you said, there’s a responsibility here.

      Thank you again Ed,


      • Eric; thanks for your reply, I would love to meet with you and help you in some way as I understand your feelings. My clam harvesting rig is quite different from conventional types in that virtually all misc. critters survive their trip thru the vacuuming system unscathed and are returned to the water immediately including lobsters,stars,flounder,(apparently fluke are too fast for 1mph),horseshoe crabs of which there is an occasional fatality just like when they get stabbed by clam rake teeth (had to throw that in there!) really,I would enjoy a visit by you and a guest or two for a firsthand look at what’s going on here. Apparently you are an interesting person and very involved for the good. I have a saying=two individuals with “clam” experiences such as we, can have a 3 or 4 day conversation and never say the same thing twice.

  4. Eric-you need to tap my knowledge & experience before publishing your film-at least 1 or 2meetings as I have info that will help you and some that you will not agree with, but the truth is very important! best regards,Ed

    • Ed, how many independent baymen work in Connecticut waters? Where does the mud and fine silt from your suction dredge go?

    • I agree Ed. Nothing is more important than the truth. …unless it’s your wife asking if her ankles look fat.

      You will be excited to learn that I have already interviewed one of the top marine science experts in the country.. He is neither pro-Baymen or pro-dredge. He is pro-facts. And next week we are filming another expert on this subject, at a marine research lab which is dedicated to this type of research and knowledge. I have zero interest in producing a film based on biased opinion or motivation. This film is driven by truth – not Baymen or dredgers.

      Stay tuned though, I may take you up on your offer to help. If we can’t get a diver to film a dredge like yours at work underwater here, maybe we could film yours in Connecticut. Only problem there is your bottom is very different than the bottom in Oyster Bay Harbor. Yours is sand, here it’s silty mud

      Thanks for the offer and concerns Ed,


  5. Eric&Bob; again,thanks for responses. I certainly agree with you regarding silting from mechanical harvesting in confined areas that do not have adequate tidal flow to disperse it. silt,by the way, is harmful to oysters but not to clams. Again, I have little or no knowledge of Oyster Bay configuration or it’s tidal flow. I understand,also, your concerns regarding your observations. Quite truthfully the photos of that monstrous harvesting “ship” are pretty scary-holy mackerel! There are methods for harvesting clams &oysters mechanically that really do minimize silting which I have been trying to convince the industry of with very limited success-that’s OK I’m keepin on. LIS is inundated with silt on a daily basis from runoff mostly from Westchester (I am part of a lawsuit against Westchester regarding the neglect of their sewage infrastructure with Save The Sound & Soundkeeper) & from CT- LI to a lesser extent. Realistically a good windstorm in LIS will whip up as much silt as a year of mechanical harvesting in CT-it’s really not close to what you imagine. The silted bottom of LIS generally is black mayonnaise & will cling like grease to your hands. The only way to cure it is to inject oxygen rich water into it & remove the trash in order bring it back-this,I am convinced will do the job but will take 20 or more years. Oyster Bay is very important as is every body of water! You are up against a corporation interested only in profit which is sad-when is the last time they relayed product to public grounds? will they even talk to you? in CT ACF & Blooms do relays to public grounds without charge. Keep in mind that CT has been harvested mechanically for 100+years and is astoundingly productive-can’t argue with that! You know what? I think that if NY allowed shellfish farming in NY as is done in CT, NY could easily blow away CT and any other state in the US for shellfish production. I left NY due to the DEC’s stranglehold on the industry-the aquaculture dept. must not be controlled by police! Yes I am rambling on again but I have a lot to say and much to give to this industry and I can’t type on a computer for 6 months in order to enlighten everyone this will be my last effort for this evening- the captains are getting to me. In order for you guys to win you need the facts from the industry experience that provides real data combined with the PHD stuff that gets to legislation. ACF,H Bloom,N Bloom & Briarpatch have made a very big difference in CT aquaculture through lobbying in CT’s capital-it takes time & $ but it is worth it. I’m going to bed-see ya.

  6. Ed, dredgers always bring the point of tidal and storm resuspension up for comparison it is a red herring acts of god; storms, and tides are not within our control. Storms can roll up the bottom in near shore areas but sub-tidal areas are far less effected fine silt is lifted and and redistributed. The power dredge conversely captures the shellfish and jettisons the sediment from a layer of the bottom 4-6 inches deep (and sometimes deeper). You claim a benefit to this when in reality you adding a significant nutrient load directly to the water column. The bay/sound bottom has a thin oxygenated layer underneath which the sediment is anoxic. This combination of oxic and anoxic layers preforms a natural function: that of converting organic nitrogen ammonia (NH3) through nitrification to nitrogen trioxide (NO3) and then to nitrogen gas NO2 which is released back to the atmosphere the release as nitrogen gas is the best relult. When this cycle is broken in the perfect storm of hydraulic dredging FERTILIZER is released wholesale to the water column where it is potential fuel for harmful algae blooms and add an unnatural break in a beneficial cycle.

    I agree that the damage done from man’s use and misuse of the upland has taken a great toll and that large areas of dead bottom in the western sound are a consequence. The Connecticut rivers that drain the industrial northeast into Long Island sound were once incredibly productive shellfish nurseries as were Long Island’s North Shore Bays and harbors it is a testament to the resilience of nature and not the benefit of dradging that clams and oysters come they of tough adaptive creatures. Digging clams and oysters by hand is sustainable and low impact, it is the most egalitarian way to utilize a public resource. Resource is not the clams and oysters it is the bottom itself the goose that lays the golden egg.

    There are great opportunities for bottom land habitat restoration to bring impacted areas back it doesn’t involve dredging.



  7. Bob; I’m not looking for an argument here as I stand on factual reality- the way it is! Fact is that your 24 tooth clam rake churning thru the bottom,pulled up thru 20-30 ft. of water & then shaken out creates every bit of silting for it’s size as dose any other technology- hundreds of rakers =? figure it out scientifically. fact is CT mechinacillay harvesting for 100+ years has credibility & the silt from land development becomes anerobic settled in with all that trash & plastics in a never ending stream-were you to see Byram River after a significant storm you would see 5000+pieces of trash/plastics headed for the sound-positively astounding! My problem is basically the same as yours-imbalance. I honestly feel you misunderstand & mistrust mechanical means. I have found thru my 78+ years of existence that a positive approach works wonders & gets attention. I do know that the problem in Oyster Bay could be resolved if your opponent was approachable-good luck with that! I also know that Oyster Bay diggers do very well compared to other LI towns. I also feel that diggers licenses should be state based instead of town based giving baymen statewide access The clams are provided by nature not by towns. See ya,Ed

    • Ed, You are a legend to the Long Island shellfish industry as a boat builder, fiberglass guru, and all around mechanical genius and i’m sure with shellfish dredge technology i have all respect for you we met in passing years ago. I don’t want to argue either but when you write “Fact is that your 24 tooth clam rake churning thru the bottom,pulled up thru 20-30 ft. of water & then shaken out creates every bit of silting for it’s size as dose any other technology” and call it “factual reality” i can’t let it go.

      The conventional hydraulic dredge use a 300-500 gallon per minute pump to jet the clams out of the bottom. Diving on John Scott’s conveyer dredge in the early 1980’s i stuck my arm straight down between the manifold and the scrape the bottom was a slurry up to my elbow it was great visibility for Peconic Bay that day and i could see the every expanding plume of mud and silt side stream off the dredge in was mind blowing clam rake don’t do that. The clam rake has evolved to comb the clams out of the bottom different rake types for bottom types your not trying process the bottom through the rake but rather to pop the clams out of the bottom it is low impact.


  8. Whether dredging is good or bad is not the issue in Oyster Bay’s National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. The issue is what criteria the federal government uses in determining whether a commercial use is appropriate. A commercial use is appropriate if they are 1) a refuge management activity, 2) if they directly support a priority general public use, or 3) if they are specifically authorized by statute.
    Under the three criteria listed in the above paragraph, Frank M Flower and Sons, Inc. clearly does not fit into any one of them, and when a new compatibility study is done by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, dredging and aquaculture will cease in this harbor. This harbor is a National treasure and is part of over 500 Refuges in the US. It is not for the exclusive benefit of a single commercial entity to do what the corporation sees fit. It is for the 40 plus million visitors that visit refuges each year to visit and enjoy the habitat in its natural state and not effected by over a half dozen dredge boats creating daily storms of silt, changing the natural hills and dales of the bay bottom and causing untold carnage with all the other species that encounter the behemoth antiquated system of dredging.

  9. Bob & Paul; good comments! I can see your points-isn’t this internet a wonderful communication tool? We know each other but have never talked & now look at what’s going on. I really wish you luck in all respects. Be very careful with the gov’t, they might stop all shellfishing in OB- just look at what happened in GSB when Nature Conservancy took over Bluepoints property which in my opinion should have gone back to the public. Anyway, if there is a way for me to help you folks I will be available. My tel# is 203-499-9650-take care!

  10. Me again-who are those guys in that great photo? The guy on the left sure looks like John Morris! that is one powerful looking bunch, especially the short guy in the front- god bless him- I sure do love kids!

    • We should get together just old clam diggers face to face.

      • May I film that?


  11. That will be a wonderful experience -just think of all the great stories to share! Let’s do it in January or February for sure-I’ll let you know when I can get free & I’ll spring for the “soda”. Maybe we should set up a gathering at some local place nearby -my treat.

  12. A feel good documentary but is it going to answer the questions that are out there? Are there any documents that show large fishers are killing the harbor? Flowers has been shellfishing for how long, 100+ years, why is it just now killing the bay? – My quick nonprofessional thought would be after 100 years, there’s nothing on the bottom of the bay but fertile mud for “farming” shellfish. I say “farming” because that’s what Flowers is doing, seeding, thinning, growing and harvesting in space they lease. That of course brings up the real question, are the leases competitively bid and won? Who else bids and why don’t the North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association or a group of members get together and bid? Sounds like a good business opportunity that is spinning part of Oyster Bay’s economy. One last benefit to having a big fish like Flowers in the bay, it is in their best interest to keep the water clean, all the bay businesses depend on it. If Flowers was not seeding the bay would there be any oysters or just a dead bottom lined with trash? Where did the oysters go in NY Harbor, LI Sound and the other bays, over fished or polluted – if Flowers were to go what side of the equation would Oyster Bay end up on? I like the title “The Bay of Imbalance” but without documenting the other side of the story is this the “Film of Imbalance?”

    • Another thought, in the September 2013 decision from the court there was a shellfish survey referenced from 2011 that showed, “The harbor-wide density of clams was found to be 10.29 clams per square meter, including both seed and full grown clams. The density of 10.29 shows an increase in clam abundance since a previous survey which was performed in 2007.” and, “The density of clams in uncertified waters was found to be 28 clams per square meter, indicating a substantial increase since 2007.”

      Does the above indicate two items, first from 2007 to 2011 the population of clams increased showing a population growth not a dying harbor and there are 63% fewer clams in certified vs uncertified areas so shell fishing in general reduces the shellfish population?

      • Eric

        Hi John. Thank you for your comments. I am most excited to hear views like yours because you are the reason for this film. i look forward to people with your understanding watching this film most of all, because your views will be affected most of all.

      • John, It is good to hear that you think Flowers created the clam and the oyster and what a great job they have done of it. The problem is there oyster don’t spawn and land on the public bottom the massive amounts of resuspended silt from power dredge do land on public land and they smother the bottom. The fact that natural sets still occur does not negate the loss and degradation habitat from dredging. The habitat is the resource hydraulic dredging is inappropriate in inshore waters.

  13. I stepped back from this discussion for a bit-then re-read it all today and have a few more comments. It’s hard to argue with the fact that mechanical shellfish harvesting has been going on for hundreds of years & still has not destroyed shellfish populations. Generally speaking finfish kills occur due to hypoxia due to overcrowding in confined areas-(that picture is very misleading) & has nothing to do with silting. Shellfish reproduction is based upon predator populations & for good reason-if every oyster spawned had lived, the entire world would be probably 1 mile thick with them! & that does not include clams. In 2003 CT opened a theretofore restricted part of my lease & since then I have based the largest part of my production on that 400+ acre area – a testament to the viability of mechanical harvesting (not dredging) no relaying to it-just harvesting for 12+ years! In 2010 the harvests were phenomenal & then the blue crab invasion began-in winter 2010 & thru 2011 I could catch 100+bu daily of blue crabs! Now, in 2015 the harvest is quite subdued & again the large clam takes centerstage-easy to figure out. Now, on to your “silt plume”-there as no real evidence that the plume does anything more than nature does negatively speaking & indeed does far more to enrich the benthic environment than years of allowing the garbage to pile up & smother it-just let it go a little bit. When beds of clams become “old” & are very thickly populated their consumption of new clam spawn is virtually 100%.I have worked those areas to thin them out & the new recruitment can be astonishing. Harvesting methods are the key to the golden shellfish door& thanks to John Scott, Ed Rodman & Joel Bender I have been able to develop a system that sustains benthic health & provides substantial income. I sincerely recommend that NY changes it’s policy to allow these real farms to develop as they allow land farming-it’s the peoples right to farm& is not a mystery. The LI shellfishermen would become very prosperous-employing 1000’s-just give it a good think & NY would be the shellfish capital of the world. It is very important to understand that all scientific studies regarding clams are seriously faulted as they are generally conducted in a manner consistent with logic & shellfish populations are not logical &will vary drastically within several feet from 0 to 500 or more per sq. meter!-there is NO average! I am constantly dismayed at the lack of observation & real knowledge of our underwater lands plus the fact that I am a 1 finger typist- this is really painful! Love you folks! Ed.

  14. Hey Ed, happy holidays! We requested to use some of our boat days from flowers to send an educated diver down to do a legit impact study on the dredging in our harbor. Natrually they denied us completely because they obviously don’t want that report done (according to christa). If dredging is so good for the bottom and totally harmless we want proof so we can possibly justify trying to do it on our own. Seeing that flowers is totally against it, would you be willing to allow a diver to do a new report on the impacts of dredging from one of your boats? Something needs to be done and done right to end all of the confusion. Just a thought. Again, happy holidays!

  15. If Ed Stilwagon were to loan us one of his boats, that would be great. We can have an overhead drone viewing the silt plume as it travels across the bay. We can then see if it only settles back onto the area that was dredged or if it goes wherever the tide takes it. We can disprove what we see each year with the naked eye when we see the plume laying right on top Teddy Roosevelt’s parks swimming area. We can then test to see how turbid the waters become with a device known as a turbidity tester. Once that information is obtained, we can set up a desk top experiment and place species in it to see if it gets into their gills and like. We can also set up underwater cameras and place different species in front of the dredge to see how they fare by being either run over by the dredge or when blasted by the high-pressure water jets. I bet the eggs on the bottom will not fare so well, nor will any of the other benthic organisms that the dredge will encounter. They do say a picture is worth a thousand words. So if the videos and stills show that it doesn’t affect the balanced eco system and insures a bio-diverse harbor after the test, well hell, I will be dredging’s my vocal advocate. But I do surmise that the total underwater environment (the habitat and the other species) will be decimated.
    Now Ed states that shellfish populations are based on predator populations. Isn’t every other species in the water’s biodiversity a potential shellfish predator? So yes it makes sense to kill all the other species if we were looking for only a clam farm in Oyster Bay’s National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. Perhaps it would bode the public well to simply look up the word refuge in the dictionary and apply it to the other species in Oyster Bay’s harbor. I can assure you that refuge does not mean Frank M. Flowers and Sons exclusive harbor to do as they wish. This Refuge is a national treasure and not a treasure chest for a commercial company.

  16. I would be quite happy to allow observation of my operation if I thought it would be non-agenda based but that would be impossible for two very significant reasons; 1- you folks are out to destroy commercial mechanical harvesting based on limited knowledge of what really happens-for instance the “dredging” is done on an extremely small portion of any bed, not on a grand scale as the impression you set forth & 2- the “plume” dissipates rather quickly & sinks back to the bottom as it is the stuff the bottom is made of-sand & mud. I apologize, but I must agree with Flowers Co on that! Further it would be impossible to conduct any valid all encompassing study unless all the water could be drained from an entire farm. The water in LIS is 3 or 4 ft visibility. There is overwhelming evidence that shellfish farming benefits the bottom as heretofore explained. No one can actually see the bottom in a valid way Pleaseas can a land based farmer- we must rely on experience which takes a very long time. Another point regarding farming- it is a right of ours to farm, a land farmer must prepare the land by cutting the trees + all interfering obstacles including existing plants & animals etc. & then to maintain controls against them. Shellfish farmers are far more vulnerable to predation by all sorts of critters including the 2 legged variety (yeah, I know) plus farmers are far less likely to produce unsafe shellfish- just look back at the illness outbreak in 1990 where 3 individuals-2 diggers & 1 dealer made the K. of C. clambake a great disaster where 100+ folks sick after which the clam price went from 35 to 12 overnight & never recovered- that incident alone cost the entire industry billions of dollars & you guys took a real pounding as well-I personally lost 500 thousand dollars as well & it took 10 years for me to repay my family. I must ask: exactly what is your goal here? You need all the truths to be correct & that is impossible to obtain by conducting time& area limited studies & then presenting them to governmental entities whose relative knowledge is zilch- you guys lost G.S.Bay to such & after a while the silt & garbage will kill it. The Nature Conservancy can be a good thing upland but is deadly underwater- someone has to clean up the trash, rake the yard! it’s the plastics, you know. Another thing about silt plumes- GSB is now untouched by mechanical harvesting & is now, generally speaking, one giant silt plume-few clams& lots of crabs. GSB had been shellfish productive for centuries & all it took to ruin it all was a few bad decisions – sad! Shellfish farming is a tradition since day one of the U.S.A.-again, it is a right of ours, why try to hurt it? By the way, shellfish populations ARE controlled by predators of all sorts because they are very good to eat plus they are so prolific they can take “take the heat”. It is very misleading for you to state that we “kill off” fish & other predators of the clam-like I stated previously species not used are “returned to the water virtually unscathed”. Fishing on farmed lots is generally quite good I can fill a 5 gal bucket at lunchtime – you just don’t get it- beds are worked a very small area at a time & are never stripped- we are truly farmers-planting, cultivating & harvesting in a sustainable manner just like a land farmer. Just to remind you that the clam rake causes siltation relative to it’s size & travel & will also wreak havoc with benthic inhabitants such as fish, crabs, eggs & nests, I know, I’ve been there & done that.

    • Eric

      I’ve thought about your response Ed and it’s hard not to take it as smoke and mirrors. Please, I live in California now which means I am surrounded by people who use a thousand words to say one thing, which they almost never end up saying anyway. A simple “No you cannot film my dredge operation” would be more refreshing than a page full of contradiction and accusation. This is the second time you are saying I have a one-sided agenda, and you have never met me. The first time I gave you the benefit of the doubt. Now that you’ve done this twice I will discount everything you have said up to now.

      I am a filmmaker. I am filming a documentary about a harbor called Oyster Bay, which has no naturally occurring oysters. Do you find that strange? I do too. That’s why the film. I have no script. I line people up in front of the camera and give them free reign. All of these people are smarter than me and from the sound of it they might be smarter than you. So far in all of the people I have interviewed – fishermen, clammers, clammers from Huntington Harbor (where dredging used to occur but is now outlawed), scientists, current residents, old residents, historians, and even marine biologists – you are the only one saying hydraulic dredging is not devastating to the devastated Oyster Bay environment in which it occurs, every day of the work-week, by up to six commercial dredge boats, two of which are 100′ long. …And you are a dredger.

      I hope when this project is finished that you take the time to not only watch it, but really listen to it. Maybe you will even see your own dredge in a different light.

  17. I bring you books and what do you do?-you chew the covers!

    • Ed, Your right I want to see the end of inshore hydraulic shellfish dredging. I have a journeymen’s understanding of the process. You know the layout of Oyster Bay and you know the types of bottom there are there. there are 4-5 boats working five days a week the amount of sediment they process is a math problem for dredgers I watched it destroy Little Neck Bay and in Huntington constant dredging in Northport and Huntington Bays silted over Centerport Harbor Duck Island Harbor and Lloyd Harbor all productive areas. What dredges do to the bottom the company controls is one thing, think about where all the silt and fine nitrogen rich sediment goes there is a threshold beyond which the bottom can’t recover from the layer after layer fine silt broadcast daily onto the public bottom inshore of the company’s leases. It’s okay for you to keep blowing the silt off your property onto the public land in the name of farming.


      Just because big company’s have been doing it for along time does not make it right. The truth of what’s happening underwater and the scale of it will turn the tide on this issues it simply can stand true environmental scrutiny.

  18. In addition, be certain that what you produce is the TRUTH-not ” just as you see it for you to make $” but as how it can affect the lives of others outside of your little circle. ou must go into depth with the likes of me ,Flowers ,Blooms, Brierpatch, G&B, Pramer, & all other shellfish farmers in this region including folks like Charlie Hart that got clobbered for no good reason other than mindless political BS in order to gain the knowledge you need for the lawsuit. We employ MANY folks & provide a wonderful sustainable food source for folks everywhere-again it is FARMING-our right! Oh thou of little knowledge be aware of litigation against false statement. Before you discredit me be sure you that you exceed my knowledge-45 years on both sides of this “fence”. Yes, I am a little PO’d that you and your little band have created a misleading story. You SHOULD be challenging your gov’t to provide real farming possibilities for your guys -you cannot pull on a rake until old age. Again, do not be one-sided! Think good stuff-too much negativity here. By the way, there are natural set oysters thruout LI Sound including Oyster Bay.

    • Eric

      Ed. “Just as you see it for you to make money?”

      Seriously Ed?

      If ignorance truly is bliss you must be ecstatic.

      The Bay of Imbalance film is not driven, motivated, or funded by money. If it was it would have ended day 3.

  19. If Oyster Bay’s National FW refuge was without any shellfish dredging and aquaculture, and I walked into the office of the FW service and proposed operating 7 dredge boats and growing a triploid oyster and an inferior species of clam in the refuge, how long would the conversation continue before they said flat out no and threw me out of the office because they thought I was crazy? I think here lies the answer. They would simply tell me, if they did give me more than a no, that the proposal in no way enhances the mission and purpose of a refuge…that it doesn’t fall into any category of permitted commercial uses. The deed’s specific language states that it is allowed if it is compatible. It’s not and it never was.

  20. Hi Ed,how many clam and Oyster seed do you plant on your underwater leased grounds.Also could you send eric the blue print of your dredges that you use.Because if my memory is correct, you said that your dredge do not hurt or kill any marine life.So It is safe to that Eric will be getting the blue prints to your dredges in the near future. Thanks Bill Fetzer

  21. Eric; This is for you. You have never indicated to me that you are or have been a bayman & I feel it’s safe for me to assume that you are not. I, too are passionate regarding the plights of individuals that choose to make their way thru life close to the earth. I also respect the art of presentation of documentation in order to preserve a way of life that is little understood & is absolutely wonderful. I am, however dead against conflict between individuals & businesses that are created through misrepresentations that get publicized & damage relationships & the industry as a whole. Keep in mind that regulators don’t give a rat’s ass about their constituency-only about their jobs & looki’n good to their superiors. I really love all baymen & their individuality-I’ve been there & understand it. I left the NY situation for CT. The NYDEC is fraught with unreasonable regulation that makes little sense & a ridiculous enforcement policy. For example you can’t keep clams alive in a 5 gallon bucket of water when it is 15-20 (which will freeze in 10 min) while harvesting-no logical answer to that! Then they say oysters must be immersed in an ice slurry immediately upon harvesting -SAME DAMN THING! That’s just one little thing. We must somehow require regulators be experts in their field & exhibit competence & compassion in their behavior. These folks are over the edge – who do they think they are? There, my dear Eric is a worthy documentary for you. I promise you lots of resistance if you publish falsehoods. If you are interested in an objective approach to your film you can contact me anytime & I will personally introduce you to many CT farmers so you can greatly expand the basis of your research. I wonder if you have the interest. I further apologize for upsetting the baymen involved here-we must work together in order to preserve our livelihoods-the real enemy is poor regulation. Keep in mind that shellfish are far safer to consume than virtually ALL foods- especially chicken, beef & pork just look it up on FDA records & while you’re at it see that clams are the highest source of vitamin B-12 for instance with no fat & extremely high protein levels. Oysters are reportedly amazing libido boosters but I don’t think so because I ate a dozen the other nite & only 9 worked.

    • Eric

      I am interested in coming to film you Ed. Previously you assumed I am in this only for the money. Glad you are coming back around on that. If I can figure out how to pay for the flight, and how to afford more time from work, I will come interview you. I agree, we need your perspective. In fact we need to offer the present owners of the late Frank M. Flowers and Sons Oyster company an opportunity to be interviewed as well.

  22. Eric & all interested individuals; I sincerely want to meet with you and any knowledgeable individual regarding shellfish in LIS. This could be historic in many ways. Just think about the truths that could be revealed! (just in case anyone’s interested)

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