Volume XI, Issue 44 ~ October 30 - November 5, 2003

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Letters to the Editor

We welcome your letters and opinions. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at [email protected].

Open Forum on Alien Oysters

Dear Bay Weekly:
You asked recently [Editorial Vol. XI, No. 42: Oct. 23] for readers’ opinions about the introduction of the Pacific oyster into our Chesapeake.

On most all of these matters of species removal and introduction, I come down pretty much in a neutral zone with shades of fatigue and frustration about the endless sense of futility in the way we approach these problems as though they were really fixable.

I believe the issue is two-fold: first in defining the problem and secondly in the assumption that it is fixable.

Defining the problem: Most folks assume that we humans have the prerogative to reorganize, limit, re-invent, manipulate and account for any and all populations of living things except our own. I believe that the major problem of our time — affecting all issues — is the problem of our hormonal drive. The problem is that there are too many of us. We are exceptionally good at procreating!

I am a primary source of this problem as I fathered five beautiful children into this world. I believe that if I had it all to do again, I would probably not do much better given the limitations of my ability to change and adjust. I would marry. I would make love and we would no doubt bring kiddoes into the world.

For me the problem with that is that I am part of the big problem rather than the fixer of one of its results! My life is near its end and there is damned little I can do about this problem! I’m not convinced that it is fixable.

Addressing the problem: So long as our numbers run rampant, it really matters very little in the long run what we do otherwise. So long as we are overpopulating and thus overdeveloping the human component of the ecosystem, we have given up control and all other life forms are in jeopardy. Sounds mighty dire, but I believe the Chesapeake oyster and all other benthic dwellers including the introduced Pacific critter will dwell in the house of extinction for eternity — and eventually we will, no doubt, join them!

My friend Kenny used to say “ain’t none of us getting out of here alive!” That may be true for species too.

— Tom Wisner, near Solomons Island

Editor’s note: Wisner is Chesapeake Bay’s poet laureate.

Dear Bay Weekly:
It took decades to nearly wipe out the native oysters and nobody did anything about it. Why not give the agencies who are trying to restore Chesapeake Bay native oysters at least as long to “fix” the problem?

The trouble is, everyone wants it to happen yesterday so they can have oysters on their plates today. Time is the great healer, so give it a chance. I know this is agonizing for the commercial oystermen but one hopes they can look at it as an investment in the future of the Bay and their own children.

— Elaine Fritz • [email protected]

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Last updated October 30, 2003 @ 1:57am