Tisbury Great Pond was closed to shellfishing as of yesterday, while Squibnocket Pond will be open for harvesting on Monday, the Chilmark selectmen announced at their meeting Tuesday.
But the new location presents access problems: a road and parking lot repair project has left boulders blocking fisherman from accessing Squibnocket Pond with boats or trailers. And because the boulders are located in a wetland, the board has to get a permit from the town conservation commission before moving them.
The board agreed those problem need to be corrected. Frank M. Fenner Jr. said that he already spoken to members of the commission who understood the need to improve access to Squibnocket. The board agreed to turn the access issue over to the commission for review, and request that they fast-track the permitting process.
Chilmark shellfish constable Isaiah Scheffer said he hoped to send someone out to Squibnocket before Monday to check on the adult oyster population, but that there is plenty of seed in the pond. The commercial shellfishing limit will remain the same: two level bushels per person, per day. The pond will be open to fishing on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Mr. Scheffer said Chilmark has seen a better year for shellfishing than previous years. “It seems like things are coming back a little bit,” he said.
The selectmen also said they’d like to see more cooperation between Chilmark and West Tisbury regarding Tisbury Great Pond. “We’d like to make sure that we have joint management of Tisbury Great Pond,” said selectman Warren Doty. The two towns are currently trying to restore the oyster population in the pond, but make decisions separately about where and when they are harvested. Mr. Doty suggested asking the Chilmark and West Tisbury shellfish committees to call a joint meeting. “This might be a good time to sit down and talk,” he said.
According to Mr. Scheffer, Nashaquitsa Pond may need attention as well.
“We have a big algae bloom in the pond,” he said.
Nearly 70 per cent of the scallop seed in the pond was killed by the algae, Mr. Doty said this week. But the problem may not turn out to be as serious as it sounds, he said; there is still some seed alive, and the lower density might actually be favorable to the growth of adult scallops.
“We’re going to have to see how it all pans out. Maybe the scallops that are there are going to grow great, because there are not that many,” he said. “We may end up with a decent amount of big scallop.”
Mr. Doty asked if the algae bloom could be related to the nitrogen content in the pond. Mr. Scheffer said he couldn’t be sure. The board suggested that the shellfish constable take note of weather patterns relating to the environment in the pond, for the town to use as a reference in future.
In other business, the selectmen appointed Wes Brighton and Donald Poole as alternates to the shellfish committee. Christopher Murphy was appointed animal inspector, and Joan Jenkinson assistant animal inspector. Warren Doty was appointed to serve on the cable television negotiating committee, and Janet Weidner to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission wind energy siting committee.