Chilmark selectmen focused on shellfish Tuesday night. Selectmen agreed to establish four new shellfish grants in Menemsha Pond which would increase the number of available grants from six to ten.
“In terms of producing shellfish,” selectman Warren Doty said, “it seems to me that the 12 grants in Edgartown are producing something like 3 million oysters a year and if they are selling at between 50 and 60 cents a piece, that means a million-and-a-half dollars are being generated out of that project — and maybe more. Here in Menemsha if we pushed it a little, we could be producing a million oysters a year out of our aquaculture project.”
Selectmen also agreed to open the recreational oyster season for Tisbury Great Pond on November 1. The commercial bay scallop season will open Nov. 3 for Nashaquitsa Pond and a portion of Menemsha Pond. The limit is two level boxes per day, Monday through Friday. The remainder of Menemsha Pond will open for commercial scalloping on Dec. 1.
Shellfish Constable Isaiah Scheffer told The Times the newly designated grant area is basically unfishable. “The bottom has a lot of sedimentation and it is pretty deep water. It really has no commercial or recreational value. It’s a water usage issue really,” he said. “If someone holds a grant in that area you really can’t have someone sailing through. This is the reason selectmen wanted it to be on the eastern side so that there are no conflicts with other pond usage, which really makes a lot of sense.”
In other news, selectmen learned that the town has received 14 applications for the four proposed lots in the Nab’s Corner affordable housing development. Notification letters of eligibility will be sent out November 7. The lottery is scheduled for December 5.
Selectmen also approved Josh Aronie’s permit to operate a food truck from November 3 to May 2 in either the Home Port or Chilmark Store parking lots; approved a preliminary screening committee’s selection of 14 police patrolman applications; and approved an application to the state Department of Transportation to reduce the Beetlebung Corner area speed limit from 25 to 20 mph from the police station to the bank.