Wampanoag tribe suspends its hatchery operations

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
25 January 2007, at 12:00am

US - The Wampanoag Shellfish Hatchery at the head of Menemsha Pond off State Road in Aquinnah lies dormant. Hatchery director Rob Garrison left in September, and there are no immediate plans to raise juvenile shellfish this year.

The tribe's shellfish hatchery uses six acres on Menemsha Pond for growing out mature oysters.

Spencer Booker, president of the Wampanoag Shellfish Hatchery Corporation, said this week that the departure of Mr. Garrison and the suspension of hatchery operations are part of a needed restructuring. That includes a shift in focus from research to the business side of the operation.

Mr. Booker said that Mr. Garrison did a wonderful job getting the operation going and providing a product to sell, but that the time for costly research and development is over. "The tribe decided that after six years, going on seven, it was time for it to become a self-sustaining entity and stand on its feet financially," he said.

The operation typically shuts down during the winter months, and there are currently no plans to restart the hatchery once spring arrives this year. That does not preclude future collaboration to use the hatchery, Mr. Booker said. When Mr. Garrison left, the board named David Vanderhoop to be acting director.

Mr. Booker said he views the recent changes positively. "I find it to be quite an exciting time," he said. Mr. Booker who also works for the tribe's department of natural resources.

Source: The Martha's Vineyard Times