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Oak Bluffs, US

Shellfishing on the Lagoon

Shellfishing is a popular pastime in Lagoon Pond. Quahogs and soft-shell/steamer clams can be dug year round, though mostly done in the warmer months. The large majority of the harvest is by recreational fishermen. Each Town with shellfish resources in the State of Massachusetts is charged to manage the fishery – even though shellfish is considered a state resource. Each town on the shore of Massachusetts has their own set of shellfish regulations and no two are the same. You need a license from the Town you want to shellfish in. There are several license categories from commercial, resident recreational year round to short term licenses which are only sold during the summer months. Both Tisbury and Oak Bluffs shellfish departments have a revolving fund that gets a portion of the revenue from each license sold.

Bay scalloping is a winter fishery usually beginning in Lagoon Pond the end of October or very early November. The two towns coordinate so Lagoon Pond is opened the same day. This past winter was a much better season than was predicted and commercial scallopers were out until late March. By State law fishing for scallops ends March 31st. The bay scallop is a very short lived (about 2 years) animal and spawns during the summer months. Early indications are for a good scalloping 2014-2015 season.

By Dave Grunden, Shellfish Warden, Oak Bluffs