Edgartown asks state to extend bay scallop season

Selectmen hope to offset a very bad winter by allowing scallopers to fish beyond the normal season limit.

Edgartown selectmen announced on Monday that the real estate tax rate dropped seven cents from 2016 to 2017. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

Edgartown selectmen voted Monday to ask state regulators for permission to extend the bay scallop season to April 17 to make up for the large number of shellfishing days lost to extremely cold temperatures and ice in Edgartown waters this winter. The scallop season was scheduled to close on March 31.

Selectmen voted unanimously to seek the extension. Shellfish committee members voted 4 to 0 to recommend extending the season at their March 3 meeting.

Shellfish warden and biologist Paul Bagnall said the extension would provide 13 additional shellfishing days. He expects five to 10 boats will take advantage of the extra days. “I don’t see any late-season bonanza rush,” Mr. Bagnall said.

Mr. Bagnall said he will meet with the director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries later this week to formally request the extension.

Also Monday, Chairman Art Smadbeck acknowledged the donation of a collection of historic photographs the late Basil Welch of Chilmark compiled to the Martha’s Vineyard Museum from his daughters, Linda Voluckas and Laurie Clements. Mr. Welch, who died in 2011, was an amateur photographer who shot many photographs of the Island’s remote and obscure locations while working as an installer and repairman for the New England Telephone company. He also printed and compiled hundreds of historic photographs from the 1800s and early 1900s, creating a collection of valuable and rare historical documentation for each Island town. The photographs will be available to the public for viewing and study.