Darien's Coastal Waters Commission encourages local shellfishing
David Kahn, member of the Advisory Commission on Coastal Waters, along with Roger Frate, a Darien-based shellfisherman, and Tim Pramer, a Norwalk-based shellfisherman, have placed approximately 10,000 clams on the recreational shellfishing beds located in the Scott Cove Area.
Annually, Kahn seeds the Great Island Bed, Contentment Island Bed, and Fish Island Bar Bed with hard shell clams provided by Roger Frate. Although, the Long Neck East Bed cannot be seeded because, as Kahn said, “it has too much wave action to hold meaningful shellfish populations that would be accessible to residents.” The Ziegler's cove beds are seasonally closed due to potential pollution issues resulting from high summer boat traffic. All of the seeded beds are only accessible by boat.
Seeding by the commission has taken place for three years now. 65 permits were issued in 2017. This was up by about 10 permits over the 2016 figure as they worked to improve awareness. Kahn said “I'm trying to improve awareness so we can get more people out there clamming!”
He hopes that through seeding, people will find out what shellfishing is and begin shellfishing with their families.
Kahn believes shellfishing is more than just gathering clams. He said, “I also believe there is a great sense of satisfaction that comes for kids and adults harvesting their own food. They also taste good and are an important source of jobs for the hard working people who harvest shellfish commercially.” Kahn continued, “People get more in touch with the environment in the process which should be positive for everyone in the community. Our children learn about the health of the Long Island Sound ecosystem in school but this is a chance to understand it in a more tangible way.”
Permits are available from the Department of Health for $20 for Darien and Stamford residents and are free for Darien and Stamford seniors and children under the age of 16. There is a non-resident fee of $40, but almost all of the licenses are issued to Darien and Stamford residents.
Kahn mentioned, “I will be putting another 50 bushels on the beds in mid-July.” He added, “Let's get a few more people out on the water to enjoy summer and some shellfishing.”