Mattapoisett brainstorms efforts to help shellfishers

Feb 12, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — A Feb. 11 request to the Board of Selectmen for an expansion of an oyster farm turned into a larger discussion of how the town could help aquaculturists and shellfishers. 

Michael Ward came before the board to request that his two acre plot in Nasketucket Bay for his Mattapoisett Oyster be expanded to four acres. 

Ward said that he plans to maintain the same amount of equipment and number of oysters, but that the extra space will allow him to maneuver his boat more easily and safely. His business is largely a one man operation, and were anything to happen to him it might be hours before someone noticed. 

Selectmen had no real issues with the request but asked Ward if he was happy with his area in the bay, and other questions to check in on his business. The discussion eventually turned to an effort in Dartmouth which would allow oyster farmers to set up during the winter months in unused and more sheltered areas of the harbor, and whether the same thing could be done in Mattapoisett. 

Selectmen made no conclusions, but thought that bringing many of the oyster farmers and commercial aquaculturists together for a roundtable might be beneficial, allowing them to tackle common problems. 

“I think it would be beneficial to everybody, even the town,” said Harbormaster Jamie McIntosh. 

Speaking after the meeting, McIntosh said that a meeting in the fall of this year could be beneficial for both those who shellfish and those who do not.