"Feds: N.J. Didn't Patrol Shellfish Grounds"

"New Jersey has seriously neglected patrolling its shellfish grounds for years, with inadequate enforcement on more than two-thirds of its waters, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Some $790 million in annual sales could be at risk if the FDA sees a danger of shellfish from contaminated waters getting into the supply chain and making consumers sick, said Bob Martin, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection. Commercial clammers and oystermen warned of this two years ago when the Corzine administration diverted money away from enforcement. Now the issue has set off a feud between the DEP and the NY/NJ Baykeeper conservation group, with a state order issued Thursday demanding that 50,000 oysters be removed from the Baykeeper restoration site in Raritan Bay.

That notice of violation came just hours after Baykeeper and DEP officials met in front of the state Senate Environment Committee and agreed they could work toward a compromise."

Kirk Moore reports for the Asbury Park Press July 17, 2010.

Monday, July 19, 2010