Fishmongers’ Tales

From Gazette editions of December, 1984:

Golden Eye Seafoods Inc., a wholesale distribution and processing business in Vineyard Haven and New Bedford, closed its doors Monday after 12 years of continuous operation. Stephen Boggess, president of the company, said the reason for the closure was “lack of fish.” And he added that the closing reflects a trend in the fishing industry in the Northeast. “This is a seasonal shutdown and we plan to reopen in April,” Mr. Boggess said. Golden Eye Seafoods employs seven people on the Vineyard and close to 100 in New Bedford. The business, operated at Ralph Packer’s wharf in Vineyard Haven, was begun on the Vineyard by Mr. Boggess and has been experiencing a decline far sharper than in other seasons. “The scientists have been predicting the decline for years. The harvesters and the processors are at fault. It is mostly our own doing,” he said.

Phil Coates, director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, said this week he is pessimistic about the short-term prospects for the New England fishing industry. He blamed the closing of several fish processing houses in New Bedford on the business itself. He said the fishermen and the processors have contributed to their own troubles by overfishing. “A lot of the processors which began years ago did so at a time when they could easily circumvent the regulations. An awful lot of fish found their way onto the off-loading facilities. Now there is a substantial decline. We are losing our position as a producer of volume fish. We’ve lost haddock, and yellowtail are off 44 per cent from last year.”

An Indian summer haze fuzzes the view of the Edgartown harbor and Chappaquiddick from the Anchors. But a true sign of the season — a poinsettia — sits atop the television in the sitting room of the new headquarters of the Edgartown Council on Aging. The council has completed its move into the historic residence on Daggett street from its former quarters near the police station, with help from Larry Mercier and three members of the highway department crew. Assistant director Leslie Clapp proudly shows the refrigerator and stove and kitchen area made possible with funds raised by the Friends of the Council; the stairway on which infirm members soon will ride on an automatic lift donated by Courageous II syndicate president Leonard Greene; dining tables supplied by Elder Services of the Cape and Islands, and the sitting room furniture that was here before Fairleigh Dickinson Jr. and Robert J. Carroll negotiated a land swap that left the Anchors in the hands of the town for the purpose now served by this big white house near the Chappy ferry.

Residents of the Vineyard are still interested in the Dec. 4, 1948 issue of the Saturday Evening Post, since the cover showed a fine picture of Edgartown town hall by Steven Dohanos. In front of the building Mr. Dohanos painted a large Christmas tree with several men in the act of placing lights upon it. The men working on the tree are said to be Antone Lopes and Frank Lopes, Joseph Burgess and Manuel Sequeira of Vineyard Haven.

Edgartown is lucky to have a guy like John Nason. He keeps everyone on their toes. He brings dialogue to the weekly selectmen’s meetings. And while some may argue with his approach, he has some really good ideas. Just ask him. He is an advocate for the elderly, as president of the Massachusetts Silver Haired Legislature. He is an advocate for Edgartown, where he is a resident. Mr. Nason is also a well known writer of letters: His work appears most frequently on the editorial pages of the Vineyard Gazette. When there was a lull in the letters for a time, people wrote the Gazette to ask what became of John Nason and his letters. Alas, his typewriter had broken. Now it is fixed. Fan club take heart. He is alive and well in Cow Bay. He has a lot of opinions. But there are a few pets.

One is traffic in Edgartown. “The only problem with traffic congestion in Edgartown is left turns. If you eliminate left turns, you would eliminate the problems. Make people drive down Main street, circle around and come back to go to the A& P. Eliminate cross traffic on Pease’s Point Way. It’s so simple, it’s ridiculous.” Another is the county government. “I don’t see any reason on Martha’s Vineyard for county government, because what do they do? Why should the county run the airport? Why don’t they just lease it? And what about the jail? At $68 per man per day, it would be cheaper to put the prisoners in the Charlotte Inn and feed them at Chez Pierre.”

Mr. Nason knows some people don’t like his approach. “Maybe I am abrasive at times,” he admits. “Maybe my tone is wrong. I don’t mean to insult anyone. I just want to be a member of this community. I moved here because it is nice and I want to help.”

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner