Rainfall forces temporary ban on shellfishing in Sengekontacket Pond

Rainfall forces temporary ban on shellfishing in Sengekontacket Pond

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Sengekontacket pond. — Photo by Steve Myrick

Sengekontacket Pond is closed to shellfishing until at least Thursday, July 10. State shellfish regulations require that the popular salt pond be closed following more than 0.2 inches of rainfall.

Hurricane Arthur spared the Island its hurricane force winds, but the storm dumped nearly two inches of rain here. Heavy rains tend to wash pollution into the ponds from the roadways and the surrounding watershed, which may make shellfish unsafe to eat.

Edgartown and Oak Bluffs shellfish wardens have posted signs and raised red flags signaling that the pond, which straddles the two towns, is off limits for shellfishing.

Sengekontacket is scheduled to be reopened on July 10, unless another rainstorm triggers an extension of the closure.

Under an agreement with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), shellfish wardens are required to close the pond to shellfishing in July when rainfall exceeds 0.2 inches. In August, the standard is more lenient: the pond must be closed when rainfall exceeds one inch. In each case, the pond must remain closed to shellfishing for a minimum of five days.