May 26, 2020
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Comments for: More and more oceanfront property owners opposing Down East seaweed harvest

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MACHIAS, Maine — Opposition to harvesting seaweed continues to grow among owners of Washington County shoreline property from Eastport to Steuben. At last count the “Rockweed Registry” maintained by the Downeast Coastal Conservancy included 532 oceanfront properties in 12 communities, most fronting Cobscook Bay. Included are… Read More
  • Anonymous

    They take away seaweed and the ice cream industry will collapse.  Carrageenan is that nasty crap they put in Bryers, Ben and jerry’s, as a cheap filler.   

    • Anonymous

      Nasty crap? The carrageenan (seaweed exstract) has more nutrition then anything else in the foods you mentioned. Cheap filler? the carrageenen is an emulisifer and thickner, so when you take it from the freezer you don’t have to chop it with a hatchet to eat it. It’s an excellent product for the food industry, with multiple use’s and a natural product. 

    • County Escapee

      Carrageenan is used in ice cream to improve ‘mouth feel’, many other products to improve viscosity (such as most toothpastes) or fluid retention. It’s the vegetarian alternative to gelatin and also makes firefighter’s foam stick. 
      It’s not used as a filler at all. Heck, I love a good Japanese style seaweed soup! I just walk up the street to the Japanese market and buy a package of dried 6×6 inch sheets of it.That’s after it gets shipped all the way from Japan. Any one objecting to sending to Canada for processing,or sending our money out of country might want to start a company in Maine. It appears that they might have trouble getting a supply of the stuff, though….

      • Anonymous

        Do some research maine does have a processor

        • County Escapee

          Then why is “most” of it is sent to Canada? Better prices? Maine doesn’t have the capacity for the job? 

          • Anonymous

            They do have the capacity and are capable of processing more why dont you buy a boat and go harvest they are looking for a few more boats

          • County Escapee

            1) My remark about some of the harvesters complaining that it was being shipped to Canada  had very little to do with my first comment.
            2) What would me buying a boat and harvesting have to do with “most” of it being sent North?
            3) I don’t care where it goes! Some harvesters did and I questioned why it wasn’t handled in Maine. That’s all!
            4) I have that Japanese market only a ten minute walk away whenever I want the stuff. 

            That’s the main reasons why I won’t go back to Maine and buy a boat like you suggested…..

          • Anonymous

            A hard days work would kill you anyway

          • County Escapee

            WTF does that have to do with some of the harvester’ complaint that the stuff is being sent to Canada??!!The best defense of the indefensible is to create a whole new offense?

            Since I, a retired pulpcutter turned a 30 year mechanic with two adult college educated kids and a paid off home who’s never received any form of welfare, I can honestly say that I’m used to a hard day’s work.
            Since you’ve not once answered any  question asked of you and only came up with off the wall remarks, I really have to suspect your intelligence, though. I suggest you stay in special education…..

  • most people who oppose this are fishermen who are saying we have to save our coast. How is dragging up everything and overfishing saving the coast. people who are digging rockweed are locals who are working. Dont we need jobs in washington county. If acaida seaplants could produce fertilizer here more people might be behind them.

    • Anonymous

      I’m a fisherman who says that maybe we need to take a good hard look at the whole process and see what pitfalls there might do to harvesting, possibly over-harvesting, with little regulation.  Look at the urchin industry.  It was practically over before it began.  Washington County does need jobs, but we should also be smart about it and try to make sure it’s a sustainable industry and that it’s not going to have a negative impact.

      • Careful Whale, you’re making sense and showing common sense. Any good thing can be overdone. And that affects everyone.

      • Anonymous

         The part that is stunning is where they admit they have no clue what effect this commercial harvesting has, how much is really available or what can be done to process it here, but lots of folks say to cut it all and then we’ll see what it does. Yes, a lot like urchins.

        • Anonymous

          Doesn’t look like urchins to me. Or anyone else who knows what they are talking about. Oh yeah, and it is being processed here. Has been for over forty years.

      • Anonymous

        Rockweed has been commercially harvested all over the North Atlantic for years. The rockweed comes back, and all those beautiful little 150 species do to. The long term data is there. The problem is that every time a paper does a story on this they go to Mrs. Seeley like she is some sort of expert. Guess what, she is not. She is simply a fantastic promoter of her own agenda. She does not have one published paper on any rockweed research that she has done. If you want to look for real scientists doing real research on rockweed, try names like Vadas, Ugarte, Fegley, Trott, etc. 

    • Anonymous

      Are these  locals former urchin fisherman ? 

      Have you folks  Downeast  learned nothing  about what the tipping point is
      from  destroying THAT fishery ? 

  • Anonymous

    Another bunch of Roxanne Quimby’s and Thurston Howell III’s who think the native folk ought to be satisfied with jobs weeding their gardens and cleaning their privies. 

    • Anonymous

      Is it lost on you how just how much “harvesting” rockweed is like 
      weeding a garden AND mucking out privies at the same time,  
      and all for the benefit of Canadian rusticators ?  

    • Davida Willette

      but they dont mind eating sushi do they sushi is the delicacy for the rich. seaweed is a part of sushi

      • Anonymous

        No it isn’t.

    • pbmann

      I just love how RWer’s scream about property rights until they disagree with the way a person choses to use the property they own.

      • Anonymous

         huh?

        • pbmann

          RWer’s cry about all the regulations stopping then from using their property to make money, yet complain when another property owner (Quimby for example) stops them from using the  property owner’s land the way the RWer’s think they should be able to.

  • Anonymous

    http://www.rockweedcoalition.org

    for more information – to join the Rockweed Registry – to join the Rockweed Coalition

    • Anonymous

      Outofstatenimbycoalition.org
      Please take your ill gotten gains from the financial industry and go back where you came from. These seaweed harvesters are decent people trying to make a living at at a difficult manual job. Work & labor, it’s something you people have no experience with.

    • Anonymous

      C’mon Mrs. Seeley, really?

  • Anonymous

    Do the math,what they harvest and what is there? Too much control!!! Next on their agenda “How many times a day you can exhale…”

  • Anonymous

    It’s too bad people think their wealth brings them to need more. Leave well enough alone and be glad their are still men and women willing and able to EARN a days pay!! A rare commodity in today’s society.
    ( On another note “more wind” how to @#$% does anyone get their name in print with a statement like that; less the fact they have been 40 years on the water??)

  • Anonymous

    First i would like to say that robin has been a thorn in the side of seaweed harvesting for quite awhile just because you own a little piece of land and are some super duper save the planet scientist from some big university who cares i dont we need jobs and it is creating jobs people need i do cater to two of the mechanical seaweed boats and it helps pay my bills mechanical harvesting is the most efficient and environmental friendly compared to hand havesters that can cut it to the rocks like they have done a few years ago and has anybody ever noticed all the dead weed floating that has broken off and is not any good to anybody why not cut it down and let it grow back lets wake up people its jobs and money in the economy downeast

    • Anonymous

      You must be related to the guy who cut down the last tree on Easter Island.

      • Anonymous

        Nope just a fisherman trying to make a living in a world of thousands of regulations you must not work on the water you probably work in some 9 to 5 job with several benefits and dont have to worry where and when your next pay check is going to be lets get real

  • Anonymous

    The headline should read “More wealthy people from away oppose downeast seaweed harvesting, as they dislike having commoners near their property”

    These people are working their tails off harvesting a sustainable crop. We should be praising them.

    • Davida Willette

      i bet roxanne quimby loves sushi. seaweed is one of the ingredients to making sushi

      • Anonymous

        No, sushi contains fish and rice. Seaweed is an ingredient in making rolls, but rolls are maki not sushi.

      •  Davia

        Lots of folk love sushi and maki and we have the right kind of seawee right here in Maine.  Would be great to teach locals h w to identify, harvest, and package, get licensed etc.  Opportunities for lots an lots of folks.  I would like to see the State doing more to develop and promote these opportunities.

    • Anonymous

      They also need to stop calling preservationists, conservationists.

    • Anonymous

      The machines I’ve seen harvesting near my place are like giant motorized water bugs.  They have a large intake on the front/bow that looks like a two foot diameter fan.  A driver sits behind the fan and in front of a cage.  The seaweed is pumped into the cage.  When the cage is full, the seaweed is pumped into mesh bags through an outflow pipe on the stern.
      Several bags are rafted together off-shore as the harvester continues to take seaweed along the shore.

      These harvesters are very loud in operation, zipping in and out of the shore chewing seaweed off the ledges at low tide.

      If you can imagine watching a front-end loader coming up to your front yard, your property,  and chewing the plants off of ten yards of your front lawn, leaving ugly bald spots as they move on down the street/road, you can perhaps get an idea of why there is concern among property owners beyond the ecological questions.

      • Anonymous

         Would you please show us the bold spots?  The machines have a guard that prevents cutting under the legal limit of 16 inches.

    •  Hi Hopperdrege..Nice to see you here…

      No question seaweed is very important Maine crop and we should be supporting development of that industry.

      (1)  No more than any other harvester, they have no right to cross private property without permission to access seaweed and

      (2) legally the rights of any one including rich from away abutters in the intertidal zone does not include the right to harvest seaweed ( or salt or anything else that is not “fish”.

       It is however a matter the state can resolve, but has chosen not to, to extend the same rights in the intertidal zone to sea weed harvesters as to clammers, mussels harvesting an fishing.

      They haven’t done that though so the problem for the seaweed industry is not rich from away snobs but the State who have chosen not to enact a law including seaweed harvesting in the public rights in the intertidal zone.

      I am a huge fan of the seaweed industry.. I think the State owes them this support.

      The reason the support has not been forthcoming, of course, is that seaweed harvesting occurs right in front of peoples homes.  right at their shoreline so ultimately,seaweed harvesters need to reach out to homeowners and secure their own arrangements.  Almost everyone would agree if the seaweed harvesters are respectful and courteous but they still need state support to legally harvest.

      • Anonymous

        Your correct (and polite) Ms. Bowker,
        I don’t believe that seaweed was considered a harvestable resource when the law was originally written, so yes I guess the court will have to decide how to classify it. I would imagine it would be the same as urchins or sea cucumbers or any other resource that we find a market for (fish being the primary resource at the time the law was written. I have never understood why maine law dealing with salt water access is so drastically different then freshwater access. The great pond rule allows unimpeded access to freshwater bodies, retaining them for the good of the commons, yet the ocean access has no such provision.

        • Hopperdredge

          See my post to Union Dave above. The public doctrine on the intertial zone goes back to common law an stautes that are wise rarely violate common law..our ancient traditions..it is not a matter of statute.

          Still, as I suhgest in my post to Union Dave th eintertidal zone offers so many mnay oportnities for local harvest an vale added that is low cost an free as far as the raw materials go that I think the state needs to work harder an o more on how to make that possible. It woul have o be site speific an oroject specific the way aquaculture is an it has to involve local owners in the planning and oversight ( an who knows they might actually invest)but it can be done. Too many opportunities in salt, clays, seaweed, other edible plants to leave unsettle and undeveloped.

          It will never happen though if harvesters expect or insist on “as of right” harvesting access beyond the traditional and anciently established definition of “fishing” and ignore owner concerns on anything in the intertidal zone. It will never happen.

      • Anonymous

         Maine Statute says that “Fish” the verb means the taking of a marine organism. It also says that “Marine organism” means any living plant or animal. Is seaweed a plant? Why yes it is. Seems to me that the state of Maine (whether the AG will admit it or not) would include the “fishing” of seaweed in the intertidal zone as a right given to the people of Maine by the Public Trust Doctrine’s clause of “fishing,, fowling, and navigation”. There is no law on the books that says otherwise.
        The state could solve the matter of ownership quite easily, you are correct, all that they need to do is follow their own laws.

        • Hi Union Dave..I had done quite extensive research on the inter tidal zone at one time in connection with some volunteer advocacy work I was doing for the working waterfront here. Unfortunately I cannot immediately lay my hans on my notes except for this one little piece(it’s on Mass. law but lays out the issues in the public trust doctrine of “fishing”):

          Intertidal Zone

          http://www.state.ma.us/czm/wpmlglrg.htm
          Issuance of the license does not convey any property rights to the aquaculturist. While Massachusetts honors the public trust rights of fishing, fowling, and navigation in the intertidal zone, it is one of the few states in which private property extends to the low water mark. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has recently ruled, in Pazolt v. Director of the Division of Marine Fisheries, et al., (April 20, 1994) that aquaculture (generally placing structures, such as nursery trays or boxes) is not part of the public trust right of fishing and, therefore, aquaculturists must obtain permission from the private upland property owner in order to practice aquaculture in the intertidal zone. ”

          The public trust doctrine of “fishing” does not include the harvesting of plants or for example another industry I would like to see supported and developed, salt harvesting or clam flat clay harvesting. ( Rockweed and our clam flat clays have very high quality cosmetic and medicinal purposes; salicornia, (sea asparagus) under careful practice could be harvested and sold as a high end culinary herb ( sells for $12/lb at whole foods). We already have two local businesses here in my area ( Stonington/Deer Isle adding value in community from intertidal zone product..Island Soaps ( who do a clam flat clay soap that is superb)and Bio Coastal Resources (??? correct name??) who are doing very high quality nutritional supplements for humans an their pets. I know of two salt harvesters in Maine, Maine Sea Salt an a Lubec company. Both excellent products. ( I harvest my own salt from my estuary and it is right up there with the best tasting salts in the world)

          Owners on the intertidal zone, however, can provide access and convey their rights via partnerships or agreement with harvesters. That needs no state law.

          On my cove every single owner allows clamming and worming access ( worming also is not “fishing” under public trust doctrine). As long as it involves no noisy equipment or recovery procedures which damage the shore line or cause erosion(e.g loss of grasses) most owners I think would readily agree to these agreements and where investment is required equity partnerships ( I was interested in doing that for oyster gardening)

          The intertidal zone offers so many opportunities for branded Maine product much of which can be done on a cottage industry basis by ordinary Maine folk without a huge upfront investment the way the best Maine crab is one in tiny sheds with moms an daughters working side by side with a few neighbors. With some focus and work on the central issues of intertdial zone management that includes the state, owners an harvesters we can create many more jobs an products in even our smallest coastal villages.//locally owned, locally managed, locally branded

          • Anonymous

            I don’t see, in your response, where this applies to rockweed. There is no case law to support your assertion that seaweed harvesting is not included in the term fishing. I can produce a letter written by former AG Rowe that states this fact.

          •  Fishing, as it applies to the intertidal zone, definitely does not include seaweed harvesting.
            There is much case law on this and the public trust doctrine goes back to the earliest times in New England.   The attorney general has o authority to over ride a common law doctrine or an established public doctrine with extensive case law. It has no weight of law or relevance in courts.

            Here is the official guidance and description which, as you can see emphasizes working it out with owners:

            Maine is one of only a few states (DE, MA, ME, NH, PA, VA) in which coastal
            property owners own land out to the mean low tide line as
            accomplished by the Colonial
            Ordinance of 1641-47. These ownership interests are subject to a
            centuries-old public easement for “fishing, fowling and navigation,”
            however. In most other coastal states this intertidal land is owned by the
            state in trust for the public under the public trust doctrine.

            http://www.accessingthemainecoast.com/waterfront_users/waterfront_users.shtml

          • Anonymous

            I am not saying that the AG could have or would have overridden the public trust doctrine or established case law. The fact is that the question of rockweed ownership was handed to AG Rowe. He found that there was nothing in the public trust doctrine, the colonial ordinance, or established case law that said that the seaweed in the intertidal zone belonged to the upland landowner. Therefore, he could not rule in favor of the upland owners. You have yet to show me any clause that says otherwise. If you indeed have this proof, by all means, share this with Mrs. Seeley, she will forever be indebted to you. You would no doubt be celebrated as a hero of the “save the rockweed” cause.
            The intent of the colonial ordinance was to give the upland owner the right to build a pier for the purpose of promoting private investment in marine commerce. Whether upland owners understand this or not, they are not taxed on the intertidal zone. If they build a pier, they are then taxed on the dimensions of that pier. However, the upland landowner can do nothing that interferes with the right of the pubic to use the intertidal zone for the purposes of fishing, fowling, and navigation.
            Thus, the definition of fishing is the question. Nowhere does it say that “fishing” is relegated to animals only. As I said before, Maine law says that the verb fishing is the taking of any marine organism below the head of tide. The definition for marine organism is any animal, plant of other life that inhabits the waters below the head of tide. Thus, rockweed is a fishery according to Maine law and can be included in the fishing, fowling, and navigation clause.
             

          •  Union Dave

            The whole poit of all my psts here is toward supporting not only seaweed but other economic development job creation opportunities in the inter tidal zone.  I am i nterested in continuing to work on this with others..so please contact me.  The state coudl and should do much more.

            As I said at the outset I couldn’t find my original extensive research ( case law included) but my recollection is there was plenty of case law and established interpretation that clearly exclude anything but fish (and shell fish) in the definition of fishing.  The reason being, the most narrow interpretations must apply as this is about public rights to private land with very very significant implications for land values, nuisance, privacy, peace and quite..all inherent property rights again supported in common law.

            The again, cannot “decide” anything in this matter.

            Interested in pursuing and developing coopeartive relationships with ownners as a basis for examining community jobs and economic enterprise in the inertial zone though..please contact me for follow up if you are interested in this too.  But I am settled that the issue of what fishing is in the inter tial zone has been settled by 300+ years of case law and common law traditions.  No seaweed rights.

            Again, the attorey general cannot “decide” on this matter an whatever his opinion only courts can interpret an decide.

          • Anonymous

            Again, I understand the attorney general cannot decide on this matter. What the AG can do is look at existing statute and case law and advise a petitioner whether their point of view has merit. When those that believe that the upland landowners retain ownership of intertidal seaweed posed this to the AG, the AG looked at the evidence and said that he could not find definitive support for their position. Why???? Because there is none!
            If there were, you can bet that a lawsuit against seaweed harvesters would have already made its way through the courts, and the matter would be settled.
            I guess we can agree to disagree on what statute and case law say, but I would rather trust the conclusions of Atty. David Slade (perhaps the leading public trust right attorney in the country). If you would like to see what he has to say on the matter, please refer to his white paper that can be found at http://www.maineseaweed.org.

            Also, if you look at recent case law here in Maine, I think you will find that the courts have taken a broad view, rather than narrow, of the public trust right. See: http://www.pressherald.com/news/high-court-ruling-expands-scuba-divers-beach-rights_2011-08-30.html.
            It would seem that Maine’s courts do not share your view on narrow interpretation.
             

          •  Union Dave,

            I will check these out an I thank you for them.  An agin, my principal interest is in developing local value added jobs an enterprise using free resources such as are found in th e intertidal zone. ( an also lot sof other places like wil heritage apples, elerberry, currants, rose hips etc.).

            You are an obviously well informed advocate an you write clearly and well.

            You are a huge resource to intertidal zone harvesters.  I hope to have the pleasure of collaborating further with you on these possibilities in the future.

  • Anonymous

    Why can’t Maine process its own seaweed? How many jobs are lost because it’s shipped to Canada? 

    • Anonymous

      The two mechanical crews in cobscook bay are being processes by a maine company in woldoboro along with several others along the coast

    • Anonymous

      I know of at least one local processor in Hancock County. 

  • Anonymous

    Seeley says only more research will determine the validity of the claim
    by harvesters and processors that rock-weed is a sustainable source of
    nutritious biomass. ”

    And there you have the basis for this persons existence.  To garnish more public money in order to maintain Seeley’s employment in a never-ending entitlement for life.  Moreover the statement that it is required to establish the harvesters claim that it is necessary to prove that it is sustainable rather than the claim of pseudo-neophyte scientists (people from away) that it is not sustainable.  Just another area to drive locals out of Washington County so that others may take their land.

    • Anonymous

      Earning a living by doing research is not entitlement. It’s earning a living. Your personal bias against knowledge is not a sufficient justification for humanity to stop learning.

      • Anonymous

        The ‘research’ follows the grant money.  Generate ‘research’ that supports the prevailing socialist sentiment and you’ll be rolling in dough.  Suggest a project that just might invalidate these sacred cows and you’ll starve to death. 

        In the end, there is precious little difference between ‘researchers’ and common street walkers.

        • Anonymous

          Ask robin about the money she got from Toyota and the Audubon society to produce a film on how bad seaweeding is how much is she going to get from it

      • Anonymous

        Earthling, try a comment that means something instead of attacking the poster. Do you have any useful insight here?

    • Anonymous

      Two grants from audobon (over $33,000) recently. Not too shabby. 

  • Lord Whiteman

     I remember people said this kind of thing would happen once they started really promoting realestate north of Bar Harbor.
     I wish I had bought some of it while it was still cheap.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always been an advocate of “oceanfront property owners” who sign the Rockweed Registry pay taxes on THEIR land to the low water mark!! The land  belongs to them when it comes to harvesting rockweed but I think it still belongs to Massachusetts when it comes to bringing in a little extra revenue for the State of Maine!! I consider myself a conservationist, but I always asks what are we conserving and who are we conserving it for? $215 to handle 5 Tons of seaweed in a death defying job..Must be receiving one helluva healthcare package along with retirement and unemployment benefits!!

    • Anonymous

       I raked Irish sea moss summers as a teenager starting when I was13 years old. We would rake the first crop June/ July and then return to the same rocks in August when there was a new crop. In all of the years I raked along the same shore the Irish moss and sea weed would always grow back. This was in the 60’s and we were paid 1/2 penny a pound. Great job for a kid. I can’t for the life of me understand why people are against this now and are studying it when this has been being done for centuries. Is it because they don’t want anyone to interfere with there property.     

  • Anonymous

    NIMBYs in action…Maine , destined to be a welfare state and playground for limo liberals…

  • Anonymous

    WOW, rockweed, rockweed harvesters, processors, flatlanders, then the State, some Canada mixed in, sounds like a lawyers dream.

  • Anonymous

    My grandmother would pick up dulse from the shore in the early 1900s and use it to thicken her puddings.

    • Anonymous

      I think many of this forum’s commenters have done the same as their comments are quite thick – chenard and sprucedweller come to mind…

  • Anonymous

    Be warned! Anyone come on to my property and cut my: trees, bushes, grass, flowers or seaweed and you won’t be sleeping in your bed that night.

    • Anonymous

      Last I knew, anywhere seaweed grows is NOT your property!

      • Anonymous

        My seaweed is above the low water mark, therefore making it MY seaweed.

        • Anonymous

          You don’t have a clue! You own nothing below the High water mark. That’s nomore your seaweed than MINE. Anyone can have a picnic below that high water mark and you can pound sand!

          • Anonymous

            LOL!

          • Anonymous

            How can anyone that owns shore property such as you be so ignorant of the law?  If you own such property, you have a rude awaking coming.

        • Anonymous

           Sorry, Bub, not true. Leave your address we’ll be there tonight…..

        • Anonymous

          You own to the High Water mark not the low. And think you paid the real estate agent all that extra money for the acreage! Hah!

        • Anonymous

          Clams and mussels are above the low water mark. Do you own them too? No, you do not.

    • Anonymous

      You must be one too… Thats a threat not a warning!

    • Anonymous

      Is that a threat of physical violence? Or are you insinuating that you will have them arrested and they will go to jail. If the latter, go ahead, call the marine patrol, they will come and tell you that there is nothing they can do as the harvester is breaking no laws. Don’t believe me? Call them up and ask.

  • Anonymous

    Mechanical harvesting may be another thing entirely, but I find it hard to believe that a few kids working their tails off in our bay a couple of times a summer can possibly remove enough rockweed to make a difference.
     
    I’ve never had an ugly incident with any of them, seen any of them throw litter around (unlike the boat fishermen, BTW), or even heard them making noise.
     
    It’s tough enough for people to make a living around here and if they’re willing to do it, good for them.

  • Anonymous

    We live on the shore and welcome all sorts of gathering along the shore front. It is hard work and those who can do it are welcome. We do not like the mechanized machine that passes by nearly every year for a day to blast the diesel fumes and raze a lot of ruckus as it is so disruptive to the entire family.

  • Patten_Pete

    Test

  • Anonymous

    they are taking 1tenth of 1 percent of all the seaweed? That isn’t much. If they were taking 10 % then it might be a concern. Leave them alone.

  • I can’t say I know any more then what the articles says but this just seems to be another case of NIMBY.  “It’s great as long as I don’t have to look at it”

     Kinda like the Kennedy’s and windmills.

  • Anonymous

    Good Morning All,

         Two quick thoughts. Where are all our great politicians in this matter.  Is it that they won’t make a stand because they  are not sure which way  to go to get  the majority  votes.  Or are  the sea weed growers are so small  that they don’t have enough money to be part of the Good Old Boys system.

  • Anonymous

    I’d prefer the harvesting be done by hand.

    • Anonymous

      If you spent some time on a hand harvesting boat, and then spent time on a mechanical harvesting boat. I have no doubt that you would change your mind.

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