Statewide Shellfish Initiative Proposed for Massachusetts
March 30, 2017
STATEWIDE SHELLFISH INITIATIVE PROPOSED FOR MASSACHUSETTS
Stakeholders are invited to attend meetings to learn more about the MSI and play key role in its development
The Massachusetts Aquaculture Association (MAA), the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance (CCCFA), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), with doctoral students from the University of Massachusetts Boston, will host public meetings to discuss the emerging Massachusetts Shellfish Initiative (MSI). This partnership is the first time in recent history that all sectors, from aquaculture and wild harvest to restoration and managers, are working together collaboratively to develop a state-wide holistic shellfish plan. A MSI, developed with broad stakeholder support, can maximize the economic, environmental, and social benefits of the Commonwealth’s shellfish resources.
The goal of the meetings and survey is to produce recommendations to guide the strategic development of the MSI. They are designed to collect input from those involved with shellfish and the public through facilitated discussion and the distribution of a survey and will include a short presentation. These discussions and the survey will identify interests, concerns, and potential avenues for expanding shellfish resources and improving management. They represent a starting point of gathering input from stakeholders to create a strong foundation and framework for informing next steps.
“The MSI is the first time a shellfish plan for the state is being driven from the ground up, by the industry. We are hopeful that the MSI will leverage support for existing and new projects to improve businesses, shellfish resources, and our environment.” -Chris Sherman, President Mass Aquaculture Association
Shellfish are a valuable resource to the people of the Commonwealth, play a critical role in driving our economy, and support healthy coastal ecosystems. Interest in and development of all aspects of shellfish have been on the rise in recent years and a comprehensive statewide plan would support continued responsible growth. MAA, CCCFA, and TNC are working together to initiate conversations to begin developing such a plan. The MSI is intended to be a collaborative process that improves communication among shellfish harvesters (wild, aquaculture, and recreational), state and town agencies, NGOs and environmental organizations, and scientific and research organizations and can be a tool to responsibly expand shellfish resources in Massachusetts.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “The goal [of The National Shellfish Initiative] is to increase populations of bivalve shellfish in our nation’s coastal waters—including oysters, clams, and mussels—through commercial production and conservation activities.
Shellfishermen (wild and recreational harvesters, aquaculture growers), restoration advocates, concerned citizens, and public officials are invited to attend a meeting to learn more about the MSI and play key role in its development, on the following dates:
April 4th, 2017 Wellfleet
Location: Wellfleet Council on Aging (715 Old Kings Highway, Wellfleet, MA 02667)
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
April 5th, 2017, Harwich
Location: Harwich Community Center (100 Oak Street, Harwich, MA 02645)
Time: 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
April 6th, 2017, Duxbury
Location: Duxbury Bay Maritime School (475 Washington Street, Duxbury, MA 02332)
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p. m.
Date and location for Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket TBD
April 26, 2017 Manchester
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m
The Massachusetts Aquaculture Association, MAA, is a non-profit Trade Association formed in 1986. Its purpose is to promote the continued development of shellfish and fish farming, and to improve conditions affecting aquaculture in Massachusetts. The goals of this organization are to promote a high quality of aquaculture product, continue to grow a thriving aquaculture industry, develop and transfer technology and also to maintain an effective network between industry, government, and researchers. For more information, visit http://massaquaculture.org/
The Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance was launched in 1991 by a group of local commercial fishermen who saw the need for better fisheries management and wanted their experiences to inform it. We're an organization rooted in first-hand knowledge of ocean life and committed to sustaining the Cape’s tradition of small-scale fishing. Our work—on fisheries management, scientific projects and community education—is all aimed at protecting fish and fishing for future generations. For more information, visit http://capecodfishermen.org
The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The vision is a world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake and its ability to fulfill our needs and enrich our lives. For more information, visit https://www.nature.org/
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Chris Sherman, President
Massachusetts Aquaculture Association
Melissa Sanderson, Chief Operating Officer
Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance
(508) 945-2432 x 103
Steve Kirk, Coastal Program Manager
The Nature Conservancy