The number of upwellers is going up at Kingman Yacht Center on Red Brook Harbor in Cataumet.
And that’s good news for the yacht center, the harbor, and the Town of Bourne, not to mention Rodman J. Taylor Jr., the resident granted the license for the new upwellers.
An upweller is a device used to feed nutrient-rich seawater to thousands of baby oysters, or quahogs.
The tiny shellfish are suspended in containers just above the surface of the water, which is pumped into and out of the containers, providing the shellfish with a continuous flow of food.
The shellfish simultaneously are protected from predators and are able to grow faster than in a pure natural state.
Six upwellers already have been in operation at the yacht center, overseen by Mr. Taylor, but licensed to two other individuals.
Now Mr. Taylor, with more than four decades of experience in growing shellfish, has been licensed by the Bourne selectmen to operate up to eight of his own upwellers at the yacht center.
The decision is a happy outcome for all sorts of animals, people and entities.
The shellfish will be happy (although they don’t know it yet) because they will be able to feast on a lot of food in a safe place.
The harbor will be happy because the voracious baby shellfish will be eating up a storm of nutrients, thereby reducing algae and allowing other species to flourish.
The yacht center will be happy because the waters around its docks will be cleaner and the center will be bringing in more money from upweller leases.
Mr. Taylor will be happy because he now will be able to grow his own shellfish at the yacht center and sell them to other shellfish growers, who will place them at their own farms so they can continue to grow, or to towns, who will plant the shellfish in the wild.
The Town of Bourne will be happy because more economic activity will be generated, and a budding line of business will be encouraged in town.
In fact, Bourne and other Cape towns are favorably positioned to take advantage of what could become a significant sector of economic growth in the United States.
They possess an extensive shoreline with a great deal of protected water, not to mention an extensive infrastructure of existing docks and wharves. The upwellers can be built into docks, or placed into floating rafts next to them.
The shellfish, which can be generated in nearly unimaginable volume, command a premium price for their physical size even when they’re fully grown.
And the demand for shellfish, especially oysters, continues to grow across the nation and overseas.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Bourne and other Cape towns melded ingenuity, hard work and resources on hand to create economic value.
And upwellers clean the environment, too. Not a bad deal all around.