The goal of the sit-in is to promote reopening recreational shellfishing on the North and South Rivers. The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (Mass-DMF) closed the beds indefinitely, as of October 2020, citing an FDA regulation for interstate commercial shellfishing that requires certain dilution rates around a sewer treatment plant outfall in the event they fail.
NSRWA says it is doubtful that the Herring and North Rivers could ever meet this commercial standard, effectively ending recreational shellfishing in those rivers. The South River shellfish beds may be able to be re-opened pending the results of ongoing studies.
In August, Commissioner Ronald Amidon of the Department of Fish and Game, and MassDMF staff met with local recreational shellfishers, along with state Sen. Patrick O’Connor, state Rep. Patrick Kearney and NSRWA board and staff. Attendees pressed the commissioner to consider regulating shellfishing in a manner similar to recreational fishing or hunting, and he agreed to have his legal staff review the matter.
Participants should bring waders, boots and shellfishing equipment (NSRWA will provide signs) for a photo opportunity at the sit-in to raise awareness about the issue.
Learn more about NSRWA at https://www.nsrwa.org/