Recreational Shellfishing Crier

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Town Recreational Shellfish Crier

July 3, 2018


1. Welcome to Wellfleet’s Summer of 2018!

Welcome to all newly permitted seasonal recreational shellfishermen and women! And greetings to our annual permit holders, too! The Wellfleet Shellfish Dept. has been working hard to bring you good shellfishing experiences. We wanted to share our news with you!


2. Oyster Update

We are happy to report that the oysters are big and plentiful on Indian Neck this summer. After the winter ice, we were worried, but the oysters survived beautifully and are growing well. We ordered 208,000 baby oysters, and 108,000 were delivered in June and planted on our town propagation bed. The remaining 100,000 should be delivered this summer. We put a number of rows of whole sea clam shells in the deeper areas of Indian Neck. This is called “cultching,” and sea clam shell provides a preferred habitat for baby oyster larvae called “spat” to settle on and grow. This shell will “capture” some of the wild oyster spawn in the area and provide wild oysters for the future on Indian Neck.


3. Clam Update

We are making good efforts to get you some clams, as well. We transplanted some larger quahogs from an area near Mayo Beach to Indian Neck in May, and we’ll be transplanting some cherrystones from our town propagation bed toward the end of July. We also ordered 400,000 baby quahogs, and the hatchery has delivered about 50,000 to date, which we planted in our propagation bed. These will take a number of years to grow to a predator resistant size that we can bring to Indian Neck, but please know that our efforts are many and will continue.


4. Measuring Oysters

An oyster harvested from the wild must measure three inches. The reason for this is that studies have shown that oysters have had time to spawn once they reach three inches. This spawning means that we create a sustainable fishery with oysters growing into the future. If we take smaller oysters out of the environment, we are depleting our future harvest opportunities. It is important that you use an oyster ring or some tool to measure three inches. This is especially important now that oyster farmers are allowed to sell “petites,” oysters that are between 2.5-3 inches, so we have gotten used to seeing a smaller oyster on our raw bar plate. We have found problems with the rectangular gauges, so if you use a rectangle gauge, please measure from the outside bottom edge of the gauge and make sure the oyster sticks out above the outside top edge of the gauge. Ask any of us out there for help or shoot us an email or give us a call! We are happy to help!


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