DENNIS (CBS) – An East Dennis oyster farmer is offering up a reward for help finding thieves who have been targeting area oyster farms on the Cape.
John Lowell is offering up $1,000 for anyone with information that leads to the arrest of the poachers. In recent weeks, thieves have made off with more than $40,000 in oysters and oyster farming equipment in the tidal flats off Crowes Pasture.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Mary Blake reports
The most recent theft occurred last Tuesday. Someone made off with 12,000 oysters worth up to $10,000. Lowell says the thieves weren’t shy.
“We found shells and it would appear they set themselves up a mini raw bar after the caper,” Lowell said.
Lowell hasn’t had anything stolen from him personally, but has seen several of his fellow oyster farmers become victims.
“You’re putting a tremendous hardship on some very hardworking men and women,” he said in a message directed toward the thieves. “It takes 3 years for us to grow these things. When you steal our harvest, you’re stealing our livelihood.”
Some of the oyster farmers ‘trays’ have begun washing up on beaches in Brewster and Eastham. Lowell says the thieves appear to be very familiar with the industry.
“We’re very very tightly controlled and tightly regulated,” he said. “And this is a product that has to be put in the market immediately.”
Restaurants are being warned about unregulated oysters. Each bag must be tagged with time and date of harvest.