The Vineyard’s first offshore blue mussel farm has a new owner with a long-term vision for the local fishing industry. Stanley Larsen, owner of Menemsha Fish Market, recently took over a shellfish grant for the continued operation of the aquaculture farm.
Funding was announced Friday for three key projects: the restoration initiative at Squibnocket Beach in Chilmark; a pilot by the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group to sow marshlands with ribbed mussels; and a project at Barges Beach on Cuttyhunk.
With nitrogen pollution a perpetual concern for Vineyard waterways, two towns are hoping that a shellfish experiment will be the latest puzzle piece to fall into place.
Voters in Chilmark and Tisbury will be asked at their respective town meetings next week to fund pilot programs aimed at reducing nitrogen levels in two locations: Chilmark Pond and Lagoon Pond. Through the funding and a partnership with the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, test reefs of noncommercial oysters will be cultivated, in addition to beds of native ribbed mussels.
The Vineyard had a bumper crop of hatchery-raised shellfish this year. The Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, which provides shellfish to all Island towns, produced nearly double the number of quahaugs and oysters. The bay scallop crop was also good, although not as good as last year.