Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



Nantucket’s shellfisheries are significant both locally and nationally. Locally, commercial and recreational shellfishing are critical to the Island’s history, culture, and economy. Nationally, the Island’s largest commercial shellfishery — the Nantucket bay scallop fishery is one of the last wild-harvest bay scallop fisheries in the country, but there is growing concern over the health of the overall population and the sustainability of the fishery. Given the importance of the shellfisheries on Nantucket and the drastic decline of bay scallop populations elsewhere along the Atlantic coast, there is a compelling interest in ensuring that the Town’s shellfish are managed to sustain both the shellfishing industry and the resources.

This is the first official management plan for commercially and recreationally harvested shellfish in Nantucket waters. The Plan addresses bay scallops, quahogs, oysters, mussels, soft‐shell clams, and conchs.


This Management Plan was produced with support from the Nantucket Shellfish Association, the Nancy Sayles Day Foundation, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Nantucket Land Council, and the Town of Nantucket.

Many Nantucket shellfishermen and wholesalers participated in interviews during the development of this Shellfish Management Plan. We are grateful for their time and candidness. We would also like to express our gratitude to Whiting "Whitey" Willauer for his thoughtful contributions, unflagging enthusiasm, and support for the planning process.

Lastly, we also thank the outside reviewers who provided insightful feedback on the first draft of this Plan: Carl LoBue, Senior Marine Scientist, The Nature Conservancy; Stephen Tettelbach, PhD, Professor, Long Island University; Kenneth J. La Valley, PhD, Associate Director, NH Sea Grant.



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