The Block Island Times

Cold weather may impact shellfish harvesting

Commission to crack down on shellfishing enforcement
By Stephanie Turaj | Mar 26, 2013

The Shellfish Commission has expressed some concern that there may be a lack of quahogs this summer because the cold weather has affected the  ability to harvest the shellfish.

The commission’s supplier, Aquacultural Resource Corporation, located in Cape Cod, grows and harvests the quahogs, which are then transplanted to Andy’s Way on Block Island for recreational shellfishing.

“Right now, things look a little bleak for this year, because we might not get our transplant,” said Shellfish Commission Chair Hermann “Bo” Gempp. “Our normal supplier is very doubtful at this point for a spring delivery.”

However, no delivery does not mean a complete lack quahogs available for recreational shellfishing.

“It’s not the end of the world,” Shellfish Commissioner Lois Bendokas told the Times after the March 19 meeting. “It just means they [those who are shellfishing] would have to work a little harder.”

The commission is also hopeful that the supplier might be able to provide shellfish later in the season, possibly May. The commission is also looking at alternative suppliers.

The commission hopes to increase enforcement of recreational shellfishing this summer. Members discussed a letter to the editor that appeared in a March edition of the Block Island Times that claimed some people were taking more than the allowed limit of shellfish.

Harbormaster Steve Land said that there would be “tougher” enforcement this year, and said he will also work to increase public awareness about the enforcement.

Increased debris at New Harbor

The commission discussed the increased debris that has built up in and around New Harbor.

“We have more and more debris, every storm, every day,” said Gempp. Commissioners considered a clean-up day, and agreed to send letters to local conservation groups to coordinate a way to clean up the harbor.

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