Topics: Commercial fishing and shellfishing

CHATHAM – For a number of years now, the spiny dogfish has been a mainstay of the town's commercial fishing fleet. Along with skate, it is by far the largest species by volume landed at the fish pier. Most of that fish, however, is shipped to Europe, where it is used for fish and chips, among other things. Not only does that create a fairly large carbon footprint, but local fishermen don't get a lot per pound ...

CHATHAM — With the old fishing gear storage lot at the airport now padlocked, and with plans still being finalized for a replacement site near the capped landfill, the select board last week endorsed a stopgap plan for three fishermen whose equipment needs temporary quarters. The three, two of whom are lobstermen, have immediate permission to move their equipment to parcels identified at the wastewater treatme...

CHATHAM — As part of a multi-decade plan to make improvements to the town’s waterfront infrastructure, the select board last week authorized the use of $3.97 million to rebuild the bulkhead at the south jog of the fish pier. The project also includes a new walkway designed to improve pedestrian safety at the popular facility. “This project was identified in the 2016 study that looked at the entire fish pier fa...

CHATHAM – The town has canceled the lease of one of the two tenant packers at the municipal fish pier and is looking for a company to take over the space on an interim basis. Marder Trawling, Inc., which has operated the south packing bay at the waterfront facility for about a dozen years, has been unable to fulfill its lease obligations due to internal staffing issues, according to a statement from the town. ...

Fishing Vessel Landings On The Increase In Harwich 

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH – The landings and value of the commercial fishing catch landed in local harbors here are on the rise. The value of harvests landed in town increased from $3.2 million to $4.7 million between 2018 and 2021. The Cape Cod Fishermen’s Alliance is partnering with the state Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) and the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Urban Harbors Institute to provide a port by port overv...

Changing Rules Could Squeeze Shellfishermen

By: Alan Pollock

Potential Closures Not Related To Water Quality CHATHAM — A change in federal rules has the potential to shut down shellfish harvesting in some of the town’s productive waterways in the summertime. And while the implications of the change aren’t yet known, town officials say there’s a need to be prepared. In an update to the select board last week, Shellfish Constable Renee Gagne said that seven of the town...

Fishermen Launch New Seafood Cooperative

By: Alan Pollock

Working Together Seeking Fair Prices CHATHAM – Working in a field that rewards competitiveness and individual initiative, commercial fishermen have a strong streak of independence. But in creating a new partnership, the Chatham Harvesters’ Cooperative, they’re working together to develop new products in new markets, seeking to get the best possible prices for the fresh seafood they bring to port. This after...

Though commercial fishing doesn’t dominate the Lower Cape economy the way it did historically, it’s still a giant producer of revenue and jobs. That’s the conclusion of a study of the region’s commercial fishing ports carried out by the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, the Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries and the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. The findings are drawn from a series of comme...

$2M Project Will Replace Fish Pier Bulkhead

By: Tim Wood

Pedestrian Safety Improvements Also Included CHATHAM – The popularity of the municipal fish pier is undeniable. In recent weeks, staff at the Shore Road facility have counted as many as 3,000 visitors a day eager to catch a glimpse of fishing boats unloading or seals frolicking in the water. But the pier is also a working commercial fishing offloading facility, with constant heavy truck traffic crossing rig...

CHATHAM – A new storage area for commercial fishing gear off Middle Road will begin small and grow if the need arises. At the May 14 annual town meeting, voters approved $200,000 to relocate the storage area from the airport property to a stretch of town land between the capped landfill and the wastewater treatment plant. That will be sufficient to clear the area, spread gravel, set up fencing and secure the a...

HARWICH – Despite concerns raised about the potential “decimation” of the horseshoe crab population, the planning board unanimously approved a special permit for Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. to establish a facility to extract blood from the ancient arthropods for biomedical uses. The Wilmington-based company was before the board on April 12 seeking a land use special permit to conduct scienti...

WOODS HOLE – Sharks and seals are almost synonymous with Cape Cod. But what do people really think about the much-discussed fish and mammals? With shark and seal populations on the rise, a new multi-agency study looked at how sharks and seals are perceived by Cape voters, commercial fishermen and tourists, and how humans and marine life can better coexist. The study, “Human Dimensions of Rebounding Po...

Horseshoe Crab Blood Extraction Facility Proposed

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH – A company that processes horseshoe crab blood for endotoxin detection testing is seeking to locate a facility in the town’s industrial district along Queen Anne Road. Charles River Laboratories, Inc. will go before the planning board on Tuesday, April 12 seeking a use special permit for scientific research and development in facilities at 195 Queen Anne Rd., adjacent to the town’s transfer station si...

Harwich Working With State To Lift Herring Moratorium

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH – Herring have begun migrating from ocean waters to spawning grounds in the Herring River. The electronic counter at the Johnson’s Flume at the West Reservoir as of March 28 reported 545 of the anadromous fish passing through the ladder. While the migration is just getting underway, the number of fish heading into the  spawning headwaters of Hinckley’s, Seymour and Long ponds have been increasing over ...

Mariners Sound Out On Draft Waterways Bylaw

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — The next version of the waterways bylaw needs to address the shortage of moorings in town, while protecting the interests of commercial fishermen. That was the message the waterways advisory committee received in a public hearing last Thursday. The committee is revising Chapter 265 of the town bylaw, which regulates everything from abandoned vessels to waterskiing. But most of the bylaw, and most of ...

Eastham Withdraws From Nauset Estuary Dredging Plan

By: Ryan Bray

ORLEANS -- If Orleans plans to continue to pursue permitting to dredge out the Nauset Estuary, it will have to do it without Eastham's support. The Eastham Select Board voted 5-0 Monday to withdraw from a memorandum of understanding between the town and Orleans guiding how the project would unfold. The vote came during a joint meeting between the select boards in both towns at the Eastham Public Library. Pl...