Banner Season for Bay Scallops
Mark Alan Lovewell

Vineyard bay scallops, the Island’s biggest export this time of year, are at a premium.

Even though fishermen are coming ashore on the mainland with product, Roy Scheffer of Edgartown, a longtime commercial fisherman, said: “We have the nicest scallops. It looks like it is going to be a good Christmas.”

The price fell early in November, but it is back up now. At the market, fishermen can expect to get paid as much as $13 a pound for their shucked product. Consumers can expect to pay close to $17 a pound retail.

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Blue Mussel Farm Planted at Sea, Raising Hopes for Future Fishery
Mark Alan Lovewell

The Vineyard’s first experimental blue mussel farm began operating in waters off Cape Higgon in Chilmark this past week.

Two weeks ago fishermen suspended a 500-foot cable 30 feet underwater in Vineyard Sound. Last week they hung lines on the cable that were loaded with juvenile blue mussels, held to the line by a biodegradable fabric called socks.

If the project is successful, by the end of next year the mussels will be marketable.

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Aquaculture Stimulus

Aquaculture Stimulus

We have seen the future and this is it: American oysters, bay scallops, blue mussels, quahaugs and softshell clams, thriving by the thousands in natural nurseries that are the coastal ponds and embayments of the Vineyard. The nurseries are aided by the able work of the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, which grows millions of seed shellfish and provides them to the towns for sowing — both in the wild and in saltwater farms tended by entrepreneurial fishermen.

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Experimental Mussel Farm Proposed
Mark Alan Lovewell

A bowl of steamed blue mussels is among the most valued culinary seafood dishes on the Island. Just about every restaurant that serves seafood offers the bivalve. But all of the mussels consumed on the Island comes from afar, nearly all from Canada. But in the years ahead the popular shellfish may be raised and harvested here.

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Aquinnah Sanctions Scallopers Without Permits, Debates Costs
Remy Tumin

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.

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Ponds to Host Winter Flounder as Island Aquaculture Grows
Mark Alan Lovewell

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.

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Mussels Men: Chilmark Waters Are Big Step for Shellfish Startup
Remy Tumin

With the future for aquaculture looking bright following a successful experiment in farming blue mussels this year, the Chilmark selectmen voted this week to award two Menemsha shellfishermen five acres of North Shore water to continue their work growing mussels.

Tim Broderick and Alec Gale harvested 1,900 pounds of blue mussels this summer in the experimental farm. Now they plan to set up ten 500-foot lines in Chilmark waters, where they hope to grow 10,000 pounds.

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Bottom Grants for Blue Mussels
Remy Tumin

The Chilmark selectmen will award bottom grants next month for 15 acres of north shore water to shellfishermen who want to grow blue mussels in Vineyard Sound.

The selectmen will hold a public hearing on the grants on Oct. 5. The current site has been used for an experimental mussel program supported by the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, the Chilmark shellfish committee and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.

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First Farm-Raised Mussels Make Debut
Mark Alan Lovewell

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.

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

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.

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