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SHAB Searching for a Seed and Scallop Sanctuary

NANTUCKET, US - Shellfish Biologist Jeff Mercer and the Shellfish & Harbor Advisory Board are looking at the west side of Second Point as this year's no-scalloping zone to protect hatchery-raised baby scallops through the upcoming scallop season.

Having already used much of Second Bend to protect around 850,000 juvenile scallops called seed from July 2007 to the coming scallop season so these scallops could reach sexual maturity and spawn once in early summer and again in the fall, writes Peter Brace, for the The Nantucket Independent. The Marine & Coastal Resources Department needs a new sanctuary for its latest batch of aquaculture scallops numbering around 1.5 million.

According to The Nantucket Independent, at SHAB's Sept. 2 meeting, Mercer handed out maps of the harbor showing several potential locations for a seed nursery and told the board that he felt a section of the harbor between Wauwinet and Pocomo Point would work best because he feels it is an area that most scallopers already ignore anyway because of its paucity of scallops, so they would not miss it.

"I think it will support eelgrass and there's a good set of seed along there and there's some eelgrass there," said Mercer. "I don't think that many fishermen get that far up in the harbor, so I think it makes a good spot. And it's an area about the same size of the area of Second Bend.

Mercer and SHAB are looking for both viable scallop habitat as well as locations in the harbor for eelgrass enhancement, as the Great Harbor Yacht Club's 10-year, $350,000- commitment to restoring eelgrass beds in Nantucket Harbor may kick off this fall and is in need of direction on where to plant.