The Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries closed Vineyard Haven Harbor to shellfishing effective May 1 with conditional approval. The area no longer meets the criteria to harvest shellfish, according to the state.
According to Danielle Ewart, Tisbury’s shellfish constable, this is a routine closing, and other waters on the Island will also temporarily close on different dates. She said the increased number of vessels changes the water quality and flow in the inner harbor. Now, according to state law, “digging, harvesting, or collecting and/or attempting to dig, harvest, or collect shellfish and the possession of shellfish from Vineyard Haven Harbor is prohibited.”
Specifically, areas where shellfishing is closed with conditional approval are from the old Seafood Basin Pier to the end of the Vineyard Haven Harbor breakwater in a westward direction. The area will remain closed from May 1 to Oct. 31. However, the status will not automatically change to “open” on Nov. 1. Vineyard Haven Harbor must first be inspected by the Division of Marine Fisheries to determine its adequacy for shellfishing, and give a notification to “open” status.