Andy’s Way to close May 17

For shellfishing
Fri, 05/12/2017 - 9:15am

The Shellfish Commission and the Harbors Department have a busy couple of weeks ahead as they prepare for the summer. On Wednesday, May 17, they will start reseeding clams at Andy’s Way. In order to do so, that area of the Great Salt Pond will be closed to shell-fishing for nine days. This gives the clams time to bury themselves down into the sand and mud. Andy’s Way will reopen for shell-fishing on Friday, May 26.

On the same day, May 26, at sunset, a large area of the pond will close. That area extends from Cormorant Point across to Corn Neck Road, and south along the coastal area that encompasses the marinas and the “inner ponds.” The area north of the Block Island Club will remain open throughout the year.

Although some areas of the pond will remain open, only hard shell clams and mussels may be taken. The season for oysters, scallops, and soft-shelled clams ended on April 30 and will not start again until the fall.

For more details, the annual brochure delineating the different areas of the pond, and their opening and closing dates is now available at the Harbors Department office in Town Hall. The brochure also includes information on size and catch limits for not only shellfish, but finfish as well. Shellfish licenses and gauges may be obtained there on weekdays between noon and 1 p.m. 

Head Shellfish Warden Nancy Ziomek has returned to the island and is gearing up for her second season operating the upweller the Shellfish Commission obtained last year. She told The Block Island Times that they have been working on the upweller to “perfect it.” The work involved was mainly to strengthen the structure making it more “seaworthy” and able to withstand storms. The upweller also now better fits into its space behind the Block Island Maritime Institute.

Last year 5,000 seed clams were grown out in the upweller until they reached a size where they could be transferred to a “grow out area.” From there they can be transferred to other areas of the pond.

This year, Ziomek and others will be attempting to grow out 250,000 seed clams in the upweller. The seed clams will arrive and be placed in the unit in mid-June. 

The acquisition and use of the upweller came in conjunction with the Shellfish Commission’s five-year plan for making the Great Salt Pond a more sustainable shell fishery and to alleviate the need for the town to purchase harvestable-sized hard shell clams each year, that are then distributed into the pond.