Text and photos By Beth David, Editor
Attention all quahoggers, you’re about to get a big tip on where to plan next year’s digging. The Fairhaven Harbormaster/Shellfish department has been busy all week transplanting 800 bushels of quahogs into the small section of Jack’s Cove where the mooring field is.
The money for the transplants came from Bouchard Oil Spill settlement money that has been set aside for recreational fisheries. So, when the cove opens to digging, no commercial diggers will be allowed.
Bruce Ingham and his crew dredged the quahogs from the Taunton River, which is polluted, so the quahogs are not harvestable until they clean themselves out.
Fairhaven Harbormaster/Shellfish Warden Timothy Cox said that the cove will be closed to digging until sometime next year. That will give the quahogs time to clean themselves out, and to “spat,” or reproduce, two times. Quahogs are a bivalve, and the shells open up when they feed, so they clean themselves out constantly.
On Wednesday, Mr. Cox and a handful of helpers made quick work of spreading 101 quahogs into the cove.
The shellfish boat has a hole in the middle (yes, a hole), designed to make it easy to pour quahogs in while the boat is moving.
Deputies Todd Cox and Justin Dube, along with Tommy Allaire, who works on the boat with Mr. Ingham, poured the quahogs off the side of the boat or in the hole, as slowly as they could, while shellfish deputy Richie Dube played captain, slowly maneuvering the boat as close to shore as he dared at high tide.
Quahogs from polluted waters are transplanted in Fairhaven every year. The quahogs come from areas, such as the Taunton River, that do not have any heavy metals or PCBs.
Mr. Cox said that Fairhaven will get 800 bushels each year for five years. The quahogs will be spread in different coves on the relay schedule. State officials will make the final determination on where they will go.