ClamsBushels of clams await transport from a dock in Sea Bright earlier this summer.

A lawsuit filed in federal court last month by local clammers names Red Bank as one of several “culprits” responsible for pollution that has cut their earning power in half, the baymen claim.

Today’s Asbury Park Press has a story about the lawsuit.

As Dennis Kavanaugh sees it, pollution in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers is the reason Monmouth County clammers only make half the pay they should, and is a cause of decline in the region’s other fisheries, too.

Now, a lawsuit filed by Kavanaugh and other fishermen in U.S. District Court has invoked the federal Clean Water Act, alleging that the towns of Red Bank and Colts Neck and the Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport should pay for the effects of bacterial pollution in the rivers.

“Back in the 1960s, they were rearranging shellfish access areas. That’s half a century, what’s been going on here,” said Kavanaugh, of Rumson, an organizer of the Sandy Hook Watermen’s Alliance civil lawsuit filed in Newark by Asbury Park lawyer Jules L. Rossi. “The system’s broken at the local, county and state level. . . . I’m done testing and studying.”

The plaintiffs say they have a basis for estimating damages from statistics on the clamming industry. They want a court to assess those damages for use in paying for shellfish purification and processing, and setting up a permanent environmental-monitoring system for the rivers.

The lawsuit cites a 2007 DEP study that identified several pollution sources in Red Bank,

Here’s the lawsuit: Download watermans_alliance_v_rb.pdf

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