Special Conservation District Declared for Menemsha and Nashaquitsa Ponds

Following a late-night discussion that grew cranky at times, the Martha's Vineyard Commission voted narrowly last week to designate a district of critical planning concern for the shorelines of two shellfish-rich ponds in Chilmark.

The vote was 9-6 to approve the Menemsha and Nashaquitsa Ponds DCPC.

Jennie Greene, the appointed member of the commission from Chilmark, fought bitterly to block the DCPC.

"I think this is a slam-dunk that a couple of people put together.

Oil Spill in Edgartown Harbor Kills Million Baby Oysters and Fouls Waters

Oil Spill in Edgartown Harbor Kills Million Baby Oysters and Fouls Waters

Gazette Senior Writer

An oil spill of unknown origin sullied the pristine water of the outer Edgartown harbor yesterday, ruining an entire crop of juvenile shellfish at a hatchery owned by the Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group and posing a possible threat to the rich bay scallop beds off the north shore of Chappaquiddick.

Vineyard's Sweetest Fishing Season

Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs shellfishermen saw a banner start to the bay scalloping season, and they share their reason why: Lagoon Pond.

Derek Cimeno, shellfish constable for Tisbury, is watching shellfishermen surrounded in bay scallops. "Six hundred bushels of bay scallops were taken in the first two days by family shellfishermen," Mr. Cimeno said.

Shellfish Markets Report Slow Sales

Shellfish Markets Report Slow Sales

By James Kinsella
Gazette Senior Writer

The sale of local shellfish has sometimes slowed but hasn't stopped on Martha's Vineyard, which has become an Island of harvestable shellfish in a sea of toxic red tide.

Louis Larsen, owner of the Net Result in Vineyard Haven, which wholesales much of the Vineyard shellfish to local restaurants, estimates that overall Island demand for shellfish is off 50-60 per cent from normal mid-June levels.

Red Tide Moves Closer; Shellfishermen Watchful

The worst bloom of toxic red tide in the history of New England closed in on the Vineyard yesterday after shellfish beds were shut down from Maine to Nantucket, and anxious Island shellfishermen awaited word about a possible closure in their own waters.

"I am just hoping it doesn't come here," said Rob Garrison, director of the solar hatchery run by the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).

"It certainly is close," said Rick Karney, director of the Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group.

Reward for a Shellfish Man: Bagnall Restoration Is Inspiring

Edgartown shellfish constable Paul Bagnall has been named officer of the year by the Massachusetts Shellfish Officers Association.

While he had known of the news for months, he was presented with the award at a meeting of the Edgartown selectmen on Monday. The award was given for the year 2006.

A group of shellfish constables came over from the Cape to make the presentation.

Sengekontacket Pond to Close Permanently in Summer Months

Sengekontacket Pond will be closed to shellfishing for four months each year in the peak summer season on a permanent basis, as a result of intractable problems with high levels of dangerous bacteria.

From now on the pond, which spans Edgartown and Oak Bluffs and is a popular spot for recreational clammers, will be closed from the start of April until the end of September annually.

The closure does not affect swimmers and boaters.

Chilmark Sees Shellfish Restoration as Success

As the Chilmark shellfish department wraps up its first summer, efforts at spearheading restoration projects have been successful. Selectman Warren Doty, chairman of the board and liaison to the department, reported a low mortality rate among planted scallops and a very high production rate.

“It has been a very successful season,” he said.

To date, 100,000 scallop seed have been set to grow in an upweller, purchased by the town this spring and located in Menemsha, as well as in spat bags and pearl nets.

The Fishermen

The state reopened coastal ponds to shellfishing on Saturday, following a closure due to heavy rains which ended early last week. The state Division of Marine Fisheries had issued the closure to more than 30 Massachusetts towns on Sept. 29, based on the expectation that water quality in coastal ponds would diminish after three days of heavy rains.

Shellfish managers were typically concerned that road runoff would fill the ponds with excessive bacteria.

State Closes Shellfishing in Federal Water Zones

Though state waters around the Vineyard, Nantucket and south and east of Cape Cod remain clear of red tide, the state late last week as a precautionary measure closed federal waters to shellfishing. These are waters that are more than three miles from shore.