The Big Question: M.V. Shipyard


Are you in favor of the M.V. Shipyard building a 48-slip marina on Lagoon Pond?

I am very strongly in favor of the proposed marina on the Lagoon in VH and the whole Island is desperate for additional slips and moorings. We keep allowing more houses to be built and encouraging more summer residents but never improve the access to the water. We are a community that has a long boating tradition but we make it increasingly difficult for people to own or use a boat. I expect the marina to free up a number of town and private moorings which would be very helpful. The MV Shipyard is committed to the welfare of the Island and they are very conscientious stewards of the environment.

– Jim Shepherd


  1. There are several studies already done and available online showing the environmental effects of moorings vs Docking. Quick answer. Mooring cause more damage per boat than marinas.

  2. Under new FDA regulations, the new Shipyard marina would shut down permanently 11 acres of shellfishing grounds in the West Arm. That’s an area about the size of 10 football fields lost by the Tisbury shellfishing community to be placed it in the hands of private interest. The town of Tisbury sells around 500 shellfishing permits a year, both commercial and recreational. 519 so far in 2019. That’s 519 families putting food on the table using this resource, still, today. The bottom of the West Arm is a public resource, not private land. The island has such a strong shellfishing tradition. Generations of islanders have turned to the water, to the ponds, to fill the gaps during harsh winters, to feed their children when money ran out. Over and over, we have seen fishing families displaced to make room for seasonal recreational boats, fishing boats getting scarce, replaced by yachts. Why not place the slips on the other side of beach road, in the harbor which is already closed to shellfishing? Why choose an area that is prime fishing ground? And an important nursery ground for island conch and winter flounder? Can we stop paving land and ponds to put up parking lots? More importantly what gives us the right? “All of us are more important that any of us.” This the first line of the Tisbury municipal code of ethics. The bottom of the West Arm belongs to all and should remain a public resource for generations to come.

    • Bravo Amandine-you did some good research and the west arm is an important resource, more than people realize-what’s wrong, don’t the Hales have enough money LOL- As for FartherAway- stay FartherAway or give us some concrete facts which you have yet to provide.

  3. Amandine, with all due respect some of your statements are not factual.

    Fact is the island does have such a strong shellfishing tradition while the town has done little in the Lagoon to promote healthy water to increase shellfishing areas, increase yield coming out of these areas (except place more unhealthy seed) and they have failed to address run off from Hines Point (old septic systems) and failed to curtail the renovations and new construction that has been a major contributor to the unhealthiness of the lagoon. Sewering.

    You are really being overdramatic when it comes to how these families survive the winters, solely on fishing for scallops etc. Years ago, true, my own grandparents did (no permits needed back then). I would have preferred the truth. It is a tradition. It is one of my family traditions. I now take my kids out on family day, opening day and teach them about sustainability, the intricacies and educational value of shellfishing and what their Great Grandparents used to do in the same pond that we’re still able to do today and we’ll still be able to do if the Shipyard goes forward with a well thought out project (and I hope they do move forward ). Your number of 11 acres is factually wrong and just another scare tactic that has become all to pervasive on the island where people use false and unsubstantiated information to deflect away from a good project (can we say roundabout, can we say alcohol in OB and Tisbury and Gay Head? Affordable housing, A regional high school, A YMCA and the list goes on) I hope people that you lead and influence examine carefully the facts and shun your unsubstantiated and sensationalistic comments until it’s had a public hearing.

    We have seen fishing families change with the times not displaced. In the 21st century fishing families have become educated in how they earn their income. It’s back breaking work as a commercial fisherman and they’ve become more educated, more entrepreneurial ( opened seafood restaurants to sell their catch and the additional of local seafood shops at the airport and oak bluffs are perfect examples of that along with the multitude of oyster farms in OB, Edgartown and Chilmark) and more resilient.

    Take a step back and look at the positive this project could provide to not only them but to generations to come. Dredging to help promote better circulation in a large area of a dead Lagoon , upwellers to enhance the production of shellfish and possibly help the current unhealthy state of the pond near the old Maciel Marine waters. You do know that the amount of seed imported from the Shellfish departments in OB and Tisbury isn’t home grown. It’s brought in to supplement the meager organic supply and to assist the recreational and commercial businesses in town. Aquaculture programs in OB, Edgartown and Chilmark is exactly what you’re railing against, a public resource put in the hands of private entrepreneurs. The water can use an infusion of new ideas like this Marina, an aquaculture program to promote growth in the Lagoon and the new Vineyard Wind project on the other side of the street. Jobs, new business opportunities, smart growth and possibly a resurgence of some of the best shellfish ever to be eaten.

    I admit there is a fine line to walk between shellfish protection and recreational boating but I think this project is being done by a generational family, a 3rd generation island owned business that have spent their entire lives caring about the health of the waters otherwise they couldn’t survive in business. They care as much about, if not more, than the current users of the Lagoon and Harbor to protect and to enhance the current health of the waters around MV. Sometimes getting on board a project accomplishes more for your Shellfish Group than sitting in the audience and spreading non factual information. Facts, Amandine, you should work with these people and professionals. It’s part of being a leader of your group.

    • Dear farther away, who ever you are? Under new federal regulations decided at the last Shellfish Sanitation Conference 2 weeks ago, 10% of any marina capacity will be automatically considered as live aboards. The State (division of marine fisheries) has an equation to determine the buffer area around live aboard boats to be classified as prohibited or conditionally approved. This equation takes into account depth of the pond as it is a good indicator of the pollution dilution capacity of an area. When you enter 5 boats (10% of 48 boats) into the equation with a depth of 3 feet, you get 11 acres. I’m sorry, I am a scientist. I don’t do scare tactics, I much prefer facts. I understand that you are unaware of these regulations as they are literally a few weeks old. If you don’t believe me, please call Mike Hickey at the Division of Marine fisheries and ask him yourself. Here is his number: (508) 742 9768. As far as your “dramatic” comment, why is it that men always call women “dramatic” when they take a stand for anything? I must be doing something right because this is the second time a man has called me “dramatic” for telling the truth on this issue. Regulations have changed and the Shipyard marina would have a huge impact on your fishing in the West Arm. I’m sorry, I did not make these regulations and find them alarming. But the fact is, they are here and denying it will not make them go away.

  4. PS: Dredging can improve circulation into a pond when the channel has become restricted. For example, dredging under and around the bridge would increase circulation into the pond. However, for their project, the Shipyard proposes to dredge only around the footprint of the marina proper. That would not increase circulation but would create a bowl of stagnant water that would most likely become anoxic (low oxygen, dead water).

  5. Whatever you think about the cost / benefit of a marina, it would be good thing to put a culvert under beach road as close to town as feasible to improve water flow on that end of the lagoon when they do whatever they are going to do with that road . Sorry for the run on sentence , sister Ursula. Ah, the fond memories of the nuns 🙂

Comments are closed.