Questioning criteria for local shellfishing bans

The recent article, "Panel: Staff woes worsen shell fishing closures," (July 16), regarding the reasons for the prolonged closure of the local shell fishing areas by the state agency seems to be rather inadequate.

The state apparently has a single laboratory with responsibilities for public health in areas of shellfisheries. I'm sure a single laboratory could handle increased workloads under most conditions. It is obvious that most shellfish are largely filter feeders and under ideal conditions have an enormous capacity to filter large volumes of seawater from the environment.

In times of storms, turnovers and runoff, the evaluation of water quality and shellfish meat is most important for public health acceptability. But to indicate that closure is due to inadequate laboratory facilities or that more emphasis is placed on commercial enterprises to keep more people working should be questioned. The reason for closing shell fishing areas regardless should be based primarily on public health criteria for either recreational or commercial enterprises.

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