By Christine Legere
For the second time this summer, a reward has been posted for information leading to the poachers who made off with several thousand mature oysters from beds in two Cape towns.
Two weeks ago, an East Dennis oyster farmer and wholesaler offered $1,000 to anyone helping to solve a series of thefts at Crowes Pasture in late June and mid-July. The reward has yet to be collected.
Now, a nonprofit group that provides education for recreational shellfishing in Barnstable is offering $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of poachers who raided the town-owned Marstons Mills River oyster beds.
"We look at it as, 'These are our oysters,'" said Ron Glantz, president of the Barnstable Association for Recreational Shellfishing. "They were paid for by the taxpayers."
Staff from the Barnstable Natural Resources Department discovered the theft of 3,000 oysters on July 29. Department supervisor Douglas Kalweit said it was the first time he could recall town oyster beds being raided.
The river is one of a handful of propagation sites where the town grows oysters for recreational harvest. Members of the nonprofit group would have helped move the mature shellfish from Marstons Mills River to West Bay for harvest this fall.
Glantz said the reward is aimed at "keeping awareness up." He believes the poachers know their oysters and must have a way to unload them. "Shellfish are fairly well-regulated when you go to sell them," Glantz said. "There's some speculation that someone who has a grant took the oysters and just dumped them on their grant. More....