a Monomoy satellite image
a Monomoy topographic map
and Monomoy Tide Charts
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Red Tide is gone but Federal closing of Monomoy to commercial
activity is still a possibility. Chatham received
a wake up call to the value of clamming to the economoy
of the town with the recent shutdown and lost income
in June in Chatham alone was estimated at $1.7 million. "We
still need aid for people," said Shannon Eldredge
of the Chatham Shellfishermen's Association, who explained
that losing a month of earnings can be serious trouble
and that people should still donate to the association's
response, MyChatham.com has kicked off a new program
to raise funds for the Chatham Shellfishermen's Association,
in the face of the possibility that the Monomoy clam
flats may be closed to commercial shellfishing, a 5 million
dollar industry here in the town of Chatham. Click
below to see our I Dig! product store where 10% of all
profits will go directly to the Chatham Shellfishermen's
Association. Show your Chatham pride and give this
issue the visibility it deserves.
Monomoy and the Southway would be devastating,'' says
Chatham Shellfish Warden Stuart Moore. He estimates
80 percent to 90 percent of the soft-shell clams currently
being harvested in Chatham are coming out of those two
areas. ''Soft-shell clams are our biggest crop
by far, and the vast majority of people who shellfish
in Chatham are digging soft-shell clams right now,''
can also be made directly to the Chatham Shellfishermen's
Association Relief Fund, P. O. Box 485, Chatham, MA 02650.
information has been adapted from the "Guide to Shellfish in
Massachusetts" produced by the Massachusetts Shellfish
Officers Association Shellfish Advisory Committee and
printed by the Massachusetts Bays Program.
shellfish you should read all the local Town's Shellfish
Regulations. Towns generally require permits to harvest
shellfish. Your local Shellfish Constable can give you
Some areas may be closed to shellfishing by the Massachusetts
Division of Marine Fisheries due to pollution. Shellfish
obtained from these areas are unfit for human consumption.
Many areas are conditionally open which means that they
are closed after major rain storms due to polluted runoff.
/ Black clam
Ocean quahogs are similar to a quahog but usually found
in deeper water.
mercenaria / hard clam, round clam
Quahogs are found
just below the sand or mud surface between high and low
tide and beyond in sheltered waters. Harvest quahogs by
hand or rake.
that fits through a 1 inch gauge for the shell thickness
or hinge width is seed and below legal harvest size
and should not be taken. A one inch thick to 2 1/2
inch long quahog is known as a littleneck, a 2 1/2
to 3 inch quahog is a cherrystone and a 3 inch or larger
quahog is a chowder. The chowders are often used to
make chowder, clam pie or fritters.
/ Razorfish, Razorback, Jacknife clam
The razor clam
has a versatile digging foot and a streamlined, straight
razor shape that makes it the most elusive of the shellfish
to dig. Look for the razor clam near the low water mark
in sand or mud. dig in the same manner as for soft shelled
clams, but deeper and faster. Razors are served in chowder.
Bar clam, Hen clam, Skimmer
The sea clam is the largest clam, reaching 5-9 inches in
size. Look for sea clams on exposed flats at low tide, just
beneath the surface. Check town regulations for harvest limits.
Sea clams are gathered with a quahog rake or by hand. Serve
in clam pie or chowder.
SOFT SHELL CLAM
/ Steamer, Longneck, Long clam
the tide lines or just below the low water mark, the soft
shelled clam is 4-12 inches below the surfac. Dig soft
shell clams cautiously to avoid spearing their fragile
shells. Clams under two inches in length must be carefully
replanted neck upright and covered with a thin layer of
sand to protect them from exposure. Too much sand will
smother the clam. Clams can be served steamed, fried or
in a stew.
The dark bue shelled
mussel grows in clumps on rocks, pilings and flats with
each mussel anchored by tiny threads. Mussels are gathered
by hand or rake. Scrub thoroughly to remove threads and
external mud. Mussels are easily opened by steaming. Serve
steamed or stuffed.
Although perhaps less desirable than the Blue mussel, the
Ribbed mussel is edible and found in local estuaries.
Oysters are found
on hard, sandy bottom or on rocks and piers. Harvest with
quahog or box rake. Legal harvest size is 3 inches. Serve
on the half-shell or in stew.
Argopecten irradiens / Cape Scallop
Scallops live only about two years
and can reproduce only in their second year. To allow for propagation of the
next generation, only second year scallops with well defined raised growth
line may be legally harvested.
Scallops are found
on the bottom in protected bays and shallow flats, often in eelgrass beds.
Boots, waders or a small boat are needed for scalloping as well as a dip
net. Serve raw, fried, broiled, escalloped or in a stew.
Although larger in size than the
bay scallop, the sea scallop is very popular with consumers. Sea scallops are
usually found in deeper water and are not usually harvested by the recreational
fisherman. They can be used interchangeably with bay scallops in all dishes.
Callinectes sapidus / Blue claw crab
You will find the blue crab on the
muddy shore of tidal streams and estuaries. By state regulation, blue crabs
must be 4 1/8 inches point-to-point across the body before they are mature
enough to harvest. A dip net is used to harvest blue crabs. Crabs may be boiled
and used in salads and crab cakes.
Ovalipes ocellatus / Lady crab, Calico
A dip net is used to harvest Sand
crabs. There is a daily catch limit of 50 edible crabs.
Updated Shellfishing Information and Regulations Visit
the Chatham Shellfish Department.
Town Offices, 549 Main Street
Chatham, MA 02633
PHONE: (508) 945-2331
Not available from the town of Chatham.
CONTACT: Stewart Moore, Shellfish Officer
HOURS: 8:30-3:30 Monday-Friday
Massachusetts General Laws requires coastal communities
to have Shellfish Constables who are trained and experienced
in shellfish management. Public safety is important
when consuming the live perishable product. The Shellfish
Department is responsible for managing shellfish resources
with the town including recommendations for regulation,
propagation, and enforcement of town and state regulations
pertaining to shellfish. The Shellfish Department is
involved in water quality issues to protect shellfish
KEYWORDS: Aquaculture, Chatham, Health, Lobster Fisheries,
Ports And Harbors, Recreational Fisheries, Red Tide,
Regulatory Enforcement and Information, Seafood, Shellfisheries,
Water Quality, Water Pollution, Wetlands
About Monomoy Island
8-mile long spit of sand extending southwest from the Chatham
mainland is one of the best reasons to visit thus here on
the elbow of Cape Cod. Once owned by Chatham
property owners it was taken over by the government just
prior to World War 2.
Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1944 to provide
habitat for migratory birds. Sand stretches for eight miles off the
elbow of Cape Cod, forming the barrier islands of North and South Monomoy.
In addition to the two islands, a 40-acre unit on Morris Island is
also part of the refuge. This is where the headquarters and visitor
center are located. The total size of the refuge is 7,604 acres with
varied habitats of oceans, salt and freshwater marshes, dunes, and
freshwater ponds. The refuge provides important resting, nesting and
feeding habitat for migratory birds, including the Federally protected
piping plover and roseate tern. More than ten species of seabirds,
shorebirds, and waterbirds nest on the islands. The refuge also supports
the second largest nesting colony of common terns on the Atlantic seaboard
with over 8,000 nesting pairs.
Despite its remoteness Monomoy was home to its own community as early
as 1710. A tavern for sailors was opened up in the location of today's
Hospital Pond, known then as Wreck Cove.
the early 1800's a deep natural harbor at Monomoy's inner shore,
known as the Powder Hole, attracted a sizeable fishing settlement.
In its prime Whitewash Village housed about 200 residents,
a tavern inn called Monomoit House, and Public School #13,
which at one time boasted 16 students. Cod and mackerel brought
in to the Monomoy port were dried and packed for markets in
Boston and New York. Lobsters were also plentiful, providing
both food and income for the villagers, who peddled them to
mainlanders at about two cents apiece.
village was abandoned after its harbor was washed away by a
hurricane around 1860. Since a storm in 1958 Monomoy is only
accessible by boat and was designated in 1970 a Federal Wildlife,
serving as an important stop on the migratory routes of 285
species of birds.
has no human residents, no electricity, no paved roads-- Today
the only reminder of Monomoy's habitation is the Monomoy Point
Light, which guided from 1828 to 1923. The wooden lightkeepers
quarters, the cast iron light tower, and the brick generator
house are alone on the desolate point of the South Island.