First Farm-Raised Mussels Make Debut

The Vineyard’s first offshore farm-raised blue mussels will be distributed among Island fish markets and a few restaurants this weekend. The shellfish are being grown as part of a federally and locally-funded offshore aquaculture experiment to bring farm-raised blue mussels to market on the Island.

Ponds to Host Winter Flounder as Island Aquaculture Grows

Winter flounder, once abundant in Vineyard waters, is on the verge of collapse. And now a group of Islanders, with help from the University of New Hampshire, have received a federal grant to try and raise the fish at a local hatchery and release them into Lagoon and Menemsha Ponds.

Aquinnah Sanctions Scallopers Without Permits, Debates Costs

Two commercial bay scallopers in Aquinnah are facing punishment for fishing without a permit in November. Selectmen voted at their Dec. 14 meeting to fine George Baird $200 for scalloping two days on Menemsha Pond without a license, but referred a complaint against Wilde Whitcomb to town counsel.

State Fisheries Director Nixes Lobster Hatchery Revival Idea

A top state fisheries official told a Vineyard gathering on Friday afternoon that it is not feasible to restore the 61-year-old state lobster hatchery — at least not for raising young lobsters for release.

“We have no evidence that we did enhance the wild population to any significant degree at all,” said Paul Diodati, director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. “That and the cost in the past 10 years of government has become a real concern. Funding has withered,” he added.

Tribe Bay Scallop Study Shows Sanctuaries Can Revive Fishery

Creating sanctuaries and aggressively managing the protection of juveniles are two of the low-cost ways towns can jump-start their bay scallop fishery, according to the results of a five-year study into how to promote the growth of bay scallops in local coastal ponds.

Oysters Galore in Tisbury Great Pond: Shellfish Biologists Rejoice at Comeback

Vineyard ponds may be in peril, but somebody forgot to tell that to the Tisbury Great Pond which is loaded with wild oysters this year, the biggest natural spawning of oysters in recent memory.

“It is huge,” said Rick Karney, who has been director of the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group for over 30 years. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Mr. Karney said.

Iclelandic Mussel Farmer Brings Success Story to Vineyard Waters


The seafood consumer loves to eat blue mussels. It’s an internationally consumed product that lends itself very well to modern day aquaculture, including most likely here in Vineyard waters. Last Wednesday, a top mussel grower from Iceland, Vidir Bjornsson, of Nordurskel, came to speak and share pictures of his young blue mussel farm at the Chilmark Public Library. His one-hour talk was devoted to sharing his success, his struggles and his technique.

Tribe Allows Use of Hatchery For Winter Flounder Project

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has agreed to lease its shellfish hatchery on the shore of Menemsha Pond to the Martha’s Vineyard/Dukes County Fishermen’s Association for $100 to raise winter flounder. The partnership is part of a federally funded two-year $308,000 National Sea Grant project to find ways to restore one of the most troubled fish resources in Southern New England.

Seafood Shipper Uses Ice to Break Into Bigger, Fresher Local Fish Market

Fresh fish is landed daily at Menemsha and much of it is being shipped to the mainland by Alec Gale. With his operation set up in what was once a lobster shack, the 34-year-old is shipping more this summer than he has shipped before.

A key ingredient to his success is ice. He manufactures and sells ice by the bucket and fish box. Boats are loading up with his ice before they head out of the harbor, and they are coming back with boxes full of iced fish.

Commercial Scallop Season Begins

The commercial bay scallop season is open in all towns save Aquinnah, and as hardy shellfishermen don their orange and yellow foul weather gear, perhaps hoping for a small hedge against hard economic times, the early reports on the season are mixed.

Edgartown is having an average to healthy year, but the scallops coming out of Cape Pogue are small. Chilmark expects to have a short season this year. Sengekontacket remains mostly the steady domain of family fishermen (no dragging is allowed there). And the Lagoon Pond is hot.