On an overcast foggy morning, much of Edgartown Great Pond and its coves disappear as if the brush stroke of an artist had painted the shifting clouds. The 900-odd-acre pond with hidden coves and a fragile environment is William (Boo) Bassett’s summer workplace.

For most of this summer and much of last summer, Mr. Bassett has worked husbanding the restoration of wild oysters in the pond. It is both heavy and delicate work. He says he is doing it not just to restore a historic fishery, but also to restore the health of the once-vibrant pond.

On this morning he is assisted by Dave Vendettuoli and Alex Huth, two of three summer interns who were hired by the Great Pond Foundation and the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, thanks to a grant from a riparian property owner through the nonprofit Jewish Community Fund. There is plenty of work to do on this quiet morning.

With a pull on the starter rope of the outboard, the motor hums and they are off to pick up several thousand juvenile oysters in floating cages. The muffled outboard is the only sound on the calm pond, save a murder of crows cawing on a distant tree.

His hands gripping the steering wheel, Mr. Bassett says he is on a mission and one of the most important projects he has undertaken as a shellfisherman on the Edgartown waterfront. The work takes many hands, but he is optimistic about the future because of the results he has already seen.

On the boat a culling board is loaded with thousands of baby oysters, each one not much bigger than an inch long. In two years the oysters will grow to at least three inches in size and be ready to harvest.

But the goal goes beyond providing for fishermen, Mr. Bassett said.

The baby oysters were spawned a year ago at the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group’s hatchery using wild adult oysters from the pond. The oysters are known to be resistant to a disease called dermo that has been killing oysters in the Great Pond.

The baby oysters have been pampered in floating cages, protected from predators and given the best nourishment the pond can provide.

The word oyster used to be synonymous with the Vineyard’s Great Ponds. Mr. Bassett has vivid memories of a time when the bottom of the pond held large oyster beds. The oysters were self-propagating and needed little attention. They were so prodigious that young oysters would grow on the shells of older oysters. A fisherman could harvest them by the bushel, and the fishery thrived. But environmental changes in and around the pond and the arrival of dermo contributed to a severe decline 15 years ago. The commercial oyster fishery in the Edgartown Great Pond has been closed for two years.

Now, with the help of shellfish science and the hatchery, there is strong hope for a revival.

The oyster restoration project is aimed at speeding up the work that nature would take years to accomplish, through the hatchery spawning, improvements to habitat and circulation in the pond. On this day an excavator is reopening the pond to the sea.

Oysters are a key component in improving the water quality of the pond because they feed on the algae that can take up too much oxygen and put the pond ecosystem out of balance.

Oysters require a hard surface for growing. Years ago they grew on the shells of older oysters that covered the pond bottom. The beds were firm and healthy. This summer with help of the Edgartown shellfish department, culch, in the form of crushed ocean clam shells is being dumped into sections of the pond as part of an effort to reestablish healthy oyster beds.

Near Swan’s Neck Point, Mr. Bassett slows the boat. Under the watchful eye of two dozen cormorants standing in a line on the point, Mr. Vendettuoli and Mr. Huth, wearing gloves, begin pushing juvenile oysters off the culling board and into the pond. The tiny shellfish scatter across the water. Mr. Bassett explains that the baby oysters come from a batch of 3.5 million oysters provided by the shellfish group.

He points to two floating rafts out on the pond. One, a spawning cage, contains 50 healthy adult oysters. They will naturally spawn and help populate the pond with millions of spat. Mr. Bassett hunted for the adults himself and found them in one of the coves. Some were eight inches long. “The large adults are the biggest producers. They can produce millions of juveniles. We want them to spawn,” Mr. Bassett says.

Keeping the spawning adults off the silty bottom gives the offspring an even greater chance to survive.

At another site there are floating spat collectors. The floats are intended to give the baby oysters a temporary home underwater while they grow. Each collector bag is made of chicken wire mesh filled with bay scallop shells. The baby oysters will readily attach themselves to the scallop shells and at some point the shells and juvenile oysters will be released to the bottom to grow naturally. Each one of the collectors was made by the summer interns early in the season. The chicken wire will naturally rust and eventually disintegrate.

At another site, Mr. Huth pulls up lantern nets loaded with juvenile oysters. Using a scrubber he wipes away algae that has grown on the net. Mr. Bassett explains that the lantern nets are ideal for raising young oysters but also the most labor intensive. The nets must be washed frequently or they will foul.

The pond is alive with oyster spat this summer, Mr. Bassett observes — more evidence that the project is a success story so far. They’ve found oyster spat attached to more than the bay scallop shells and the shellfish culch they’ve put out there. They even found a brown oak leaf with spat attached.

Speeding back to the town landing, Mr. Bassett points out another important part of this collaborative effort that includes the involvement of riparian owners. On the shore, in the backyard of a private home owned by Toni Shute and John O’Keefe, Mr. Bassett has set up two 275-gallon seawater tanks that serve as a nursery for young oysters. A similar system has operated in the Tisbury Great Pond for years with great success.

Mr. Bassett says he has no official title. “Just call me the oyster man,” he smiles.