Red Tide Moves Closer; Shellfishermen Watchful
Mark Alan Lovewell

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.

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Reward for a Shellfish Man: Bagnall Restoration Is Inspiring
Mark Alan Lovewell

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.

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Sengekontacket Pond to Close Permanently in Summer Months
Mike Seccombe

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.

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Chilmark Sees Shellfish Restoration as Success
Julia Rappaport

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.

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The Fishermen
Mark Alan Lovewell

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.

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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.

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State Closes Eastern Nantucket Sound to Shellfishing

The state Division of Marine Fisheries yesterday expanded closed shellfish areas to include the eastern side of Nantucket Sound due to red tide. The closure does not affect fish or shellfish harvested and landed in Vineyard waters.

The agency sent out the notification for the benefit of shellfishermen and fish markets that sell shellfish wholesale and retail. Affected shellfish include surf clams, ocean quahaugs, mussels, carnivorous snails and whole sea scallops. Those scallops are exempt if only the adductor muscle is landed.

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Saving the Planet, One Oyster at a Time
Rick Karney

The Copenhagen climate summit has been much in the news for two weeks and the media is full of stories about rising carbon dioxide (C02) levels, increasing acidity of the oceans, drastic changes in weather patterns, the warmest decade on record, melting glaciers, rising sea water levels and coastal communities in imminent danger of inundation. And that’s just the tip of the melting iceberg!

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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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Shellfish Shuffle: Selectmen Seek Solutions for Up-Island Access
Megan Dooley

Tisbury Great Pond was closed to shellfishing as of yesterday, while Squibnocket Pond will be open for harvesting on Monday, the Chilmark selectmen announced at their meeting Tuesday.

But the new location presents access problems: a road and parking lot repair project has left boulders blocking fisherman from accessing Squibnocket Pond with boats or trailers. And because the boulders are located in a wetland, the board has to get a permit from the town conservation commission before moving them.

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