The old Lobster Hatchery has a new lease on life. Last Friday state and local officials convened for a brief ceremony to resurrect the long-dormant building on Lagoon Pond. It's new purpose: not lobsters, but shellfish.
Per an agreement signed by Division of Marine Fisheries director Paul Diodati and Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group director Rick Karney, the Shellfish Group will utilize part of the building for propagation.
“Last year we held a meeting here to discuss the possibility of re-opening the state lobster hatchery,” said Oak Bluffs selectmen chair Kathy Burton, who helped coordinate state and local efforts to re-open the hatchery.
“That meeting was motivated by efforts to improve the water quality in the lagoon by increasing aquaculture through the use of this facility. I am personally thrilled to be here today, a year later—I think that’s record time—to celebrate the signing of the agreement between Dept. of Fish and Games Division of Marine Fisheries and the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group.”
The Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group maintains two other hatcheries on the Island, one on Lagoon Pond in Tisbury and another on Chappaquiddick, which it uses to promote shellfish vitality.
Officials used the occasion to praise the dedication of John Hughes, who from 1948 to 1984 raised lobster at the facility and served as its director. That program was discontinued shortly after he retired.
“We want to thank you for all that you did. And we want you to know that this facility is always going to be used for propagation,” said Diodati. Rep. Tim Madden, on hand for the festivities, read from a House of Representatives citation thanking Hughes for his years of service.