The Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group (MVSG) announced that it will remain fully operational this summer.
Under the direction of executive director Emma Green-Beach and Chris Edwards, the nonprofit will continue to provide seed quahogs, bay scallops, and oysters for Island towns.
Daily operations have been impacted by the state’s COVID-19 guidelines. Workers are wearing masks and staying socially distant, both in the office and on boats. To limit exposure, the majority of the summer staff is from on-Island. Staff coming from off-Island are required to quarantine before they begin working.
“[The guidelines] have forced us to be creative,” Green-Beach said. “We are separating ourselves at work, so we have had to ask the summer staff to be more independent sooner in the season than usual.”
The group’s restaurant shell recycling program has also been impacted by the virus. “So many restaurants are only just starting to open, and a lot of our big shell recyclers are not planning on serving a lot of oysters,” Green-Beach said. “That could impact us in the future, and even next year.”
Despite these changes, the MVSG is moving forward with projects they had planned for the summer. They are working on an eelgrass restoration project that collects and replants uprooted eelgrass across the island. They are also growing surf clams for the Southeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center to explore new crop options for aquaculture farmers.