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Title: A Report upon the Mollusk Fisheries of Massachusetts
Author: Gamero, Gutiérrez, Fisheries, Commissioners on
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Report upon the Mollusk Fisheries of Massachusetts" ***

                  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

                               A REPORT
                         THE MOLLUSK FISHERIES


                        18 POST OFFICE SQUARE.

                              APPROVED BY

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

                                    COMMISSIONERS ON FISHERIES AND GAME,
                                     STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, Jan. 15, 1909.

  _To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives._

We herewith transmit a special report upon the mollusk fisheries of
Massachusetts, as ordered by chapter 49, Resolves of 1905, relative to
scallops; chapter 73, Resolves of 1905, relative to oysters; chapter
78, Resolves of 1905, relative to quahaugs; and chapter 93, Resolves of
1905, relative to clams.

                        Respectfully submitted,

                                                            G. W. FIELD,



The general plan of the work was outlined by the chairman of the
Commission on Fisheries and Game, who has given attention to such
details as checking up scientific data, editing, revising, and
confirming results, reports, etc. The work has been under the direct
charge and personal supervision of the biologist to the commission, Mr.
D. L. Belding. The able services of Prof. J. L. Kellogg of Williams
College were early enlisted, and many valuable results which we are
able to offer are the direct outcome of the practical application of
the minute details discovered by Professor Kellogg in his careful study
and original investigations of the anatomy and life histories of the
lamellibranch mollusks.

Of the other workers who, under the direction of Mr. Belding, have
contributed directly, special mention should be made of Mr. J. R.
Stevenson of Williams College, W. G. Vinal of Harvard University, F. C.
Lane of Boston University, A. A. Perkins of Ipswich and C. L. Savery of
Marion. Those who have for a briefer time been identified with the work
are R. L. Buffum, W. H. Gates and K. B. Coulter of Williams College,
and Anson Handy of Harvard University.

In addition to the results here given, much valuable knowledge has been
acquired, particularly upon the life histories of the scallop and of
the quahaug, and the practical application of this knowledge to the
pursuit of sea farming. It is hoped that the commission will later be
enabled to publish these results.

The present report is limited to a statement of the condition of
the shellfish in each section of our coast, and to consideration of
practical methods for securing increased opportunities for food and
livelihood by better utilization of naturally productive lands under
water. Since the chief purpose of legislative action under which this
work was undertaken was to ascertain how the best economic results
could be secured, we have thought it wise to embody the results of our
investigation in a plan which is suggested as a basis for appropriate
legislation for making possible a suitable system of shellfish
cultivation similar to that which already exists in Rhode Island,
Connecticut and many other coast States, and which has been carried on
for more than two thousand years on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

The following tentative outlines are offered, and it is intended to
subject each topic to an unprejudiced examination and discussion:--


_The Purpose._--The proposed system of shellfish culture aims to
develop the latent wealth of the tidal waters, to increase the output
of tidal flats already productive, and to make possible the reclamation
of large portions of the waste shore areas of our Commonwealth. It
is further designed to foster dependent and allied industries; to
extend the shellfish market, both wholesale and retail; to multiply
opportunities for the transient visitors and shore cottagers to fish
for clams and quahaugs for family use, and to ensure fishermen a
reliable source of bait supply; to increase the earnings of the shore
fishermen, and to furnish work to thousands of unemployed; to increase
the value of shore property; to add to the taxable property of the
shore towns and cities of the State; to secure to all the citizens of
the State a proper return from an unutilized State asset; to furnish
the consuming public with a greater quantity of sea food of guaranteed
purity; and in every way, both in the utilization of present and in the
creation of new resources to build up and develop the fast-declining
shellfish industries of the Commonwealth.

_Private v. Public Ownership of Tidal Flats._--The first difficulty
confronting this proposed system is the too frequently accepted fallacy
that all lands between the tide marks now are and should be held in
common by the inhabitants of the shore communities, to the exclusion
of citizens from other sections of the State,--an assumption which is
directly contrary to the more ancient law, supported by decisions of
the highest courts, that the right of taking shellfish is a public
right, freely open to any inhabitant of the State. Such unwarranted
assumption of exclusive rights in the shellfisheries by individuals,
corporations or towns sacrifices the rights of the majority. The
disastrous effect of this policy is plainly demonstrated in the history
of the rise and decline of the shellfisheries of Massachusetts.

Secondly, this fallacious assumption is contrary to the fundamental
principles of all economic doctrines. It may be safely affirmed that
the individual ownership of property has proved not only a success but
even is a necessary condition of progress, and has in fact at length
become the foundation of all society. It inevitably follows that if
the system is justifiable in the case of farm lands it is equally
justifiable in the case of the tidal flats, for the same principle
is involved in each. It is therefore fair to assume that if private
ownership of farm land has proved to be for the best interests of
human progress, so private ownership of the tidal flats will also be a
benefit to the public.

It is not our purpose to discuss the underlying principle involved
in private ownership of property,--it is simply our purpose to call
attention to two facts: (1) if individual control of real estate is
just, private ownership of tidal flats and waters is likewise just; (2)
that individual control of such areas is the only practical system yet
devised capable of checking the alarming decline in the shellfisheries
and of developing them to a normal state of productiveness, and
rendering unnecessary an annually increasing mass of restrictive

_The Present System._--The present system of controlling the
shellfisheries is based on the communal ownership of the tidal flats.
Ownership by the Commonwealth has degenerated into a system of town
control, whereby every coast community has entire jurisdiction over its
shellfisheries, to the practical exclusion of citizens of all other
towns. Thus at the present time the mollusk fisheries of Massachusetts
are divided into a number of separate and disorganized units, which are
incapable of working together for the best interests of the towns or
of the public. This communistic system is distinctly unsound, and is in
direct opposition to the principles of social and economic development.
The man who advocates keeping farm lands untilled and in common, for
the sake of the few wild blackberries they might produce, would be
considered mentally unbalanced; but it is precisely this system which
holds sway over our relatively richer sea gardens. With no thought of
seed time, but only of harvest, the fertile tidal flats are yearly
divested of their fast-decreasing output by reckless and ruthless
exploitation, and valuable territories when once exhausted are allowed
to become barren. All hopes for the morrow are sacrificed to the
clamorous demands of the present. The more the supply decreases, the
more insistent becomes the demand; and the greater the demand, the more
relentless grows the campaign of spoliation. The entire shore front
of the Commonwealth is scoured and combed by irresponsible aliens and
by exemplars of the "submerged tenth" who are now but despoilers, but
who if opportunity were present might become cultivators of the flats
rather than devastators. The thoughtful fisherman, who would control
the industry in a measure, is under present conditions overruled by
his selfish or short-sighted fellow workers, and is of necessity
forced to join their ranks by the clinching argument that if the
shellfisheries are to be ruined anyway, he might as well have his share
as long as they last. The theory of public ownership of shellfisheries
has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. The necessity for
some radical change in the present system is becoming more and more
apparent, and a system of private control, with certain modifications,
is the logical result.

_Need of Reform._--The shellfish supply of Massachusetts is steadily
declining. So extensive is this decline that it is unnecessary to
mention the abundant proofs of almost complete exhaustion in certain
localities and of failing output in others. While the apparent cause
of this decrease is overfishing and unsystematic digging, the real
cause can be readily traced to the present defective system of town
control, which has made possible, through inefficiency and neglect, the
deplorable condition of this important industry. Unless the decline is
at once checked, within a very few years our valuable shellfisheries
will be exhausted to the point of commercial extinction. The
legislation of former years, essentially restrictive and prohibitory
in character, has unfortunately been constructed on a false economic
basis. Its aim has been to protect these industries by restricting
the demand rather than by increasing the supply. What the future
requires is not merely protective or restrictive legislation, but
rather constructive laws for developing the shellfisheries. The system
of shellfish culture here presented appears to be the only practical
method for improving the condition of these industries in such a way as
to protect all vested interests of both private and public rights, and
at the same time to make possible adequate utilization of the natural
productive capacity.

In brief, the proposed system of shellfish culture is based upon a
system of leases to individuals. These leases should be divided into
two classes: (1) those covering the territory between the tide lines,
and consisting of small areas, from 1 to 2 acres; (2) the territory
below low-water mark, comprised of two classes of grants, which differ
only in size and distance from the shore,--the smaller (_a_), from 1 to
5 acres, to include the shore waters, small bays and inlets, and the
larger (_b_), of unrestricted size, to be given in the deeper and more
exposed waters. The owners of all grants shall be permitted to plant
and grow all species of shellfish, and shall have exclusive control of
the fisheries area covered by such lease. The large and more exposed
grants, which cannot be economically worked without considerable
capital, should be available for companies; while the smaller holdings,
for which but small capital is required, are restricted to the use of
the individual shore fishermen. For the tidal flats and shore waters
but one-half of the whole territory in any one township shall be
leased, the other half still remaining public property.

_Success of this System._--The system of private control by leased
grants is by no means a new and untried theory. In actual operation for
many years in this and other States, in spite of lack of protection
and other drawbacks which would be eliminated from a perfected system,
it has proved an unqualified success. The rapid depletion and even
extermination of the native oyster beds necessitated legislative
consideration, and for years the oyster industry above and below
low-water mark in this and other States has been dealt with by a
similar system. The plan here suggested would be but a direct extension
of a well-tested principle towards the cultivation of other species of
mollusks. The financial value to the fishermen of such a step has been
proved beyond all question in this State during the past three years
by the demonstrations of the Massachusetts department of fisheries and
game. These experiments have proved that tidal flats, with small outlay
of capital and labor, will yield, acre for acre, a far more valuable
harvest than any upland garden.

This system has the further element of success by being based on
individual effort, in contrast to the present communal regulation
of shellfisheries. In all business individual initiative and effort
furnish the keynote of success, and the future wellfare of the
shellfisheries depends upon the application of this principle.

Nature cannot without the aid and co-operation of man repair the
ill-advised, untimely and exhaustive inroads made in her resources.
This is shown in the thousands of acres of good farm lands made
unproductive by unwise treatment, and by the wasteful destruction
of our forests. It is as strikingly shown in the decline of our
shellfisheries. The fisherman exhausts the wealth of the flats by
destroying both young and adults, and returns nothing. The result is
decrease and ultimate extermination. The farmer prepares his land
carefully and intelligently, plants his seed and in due time reaps a
harvest. If the fisherman could have similar rights over the tidal
areas, he could with far less labor and capital and with far greater
certainty year by year reap a continuous harvest at all seasons. The
success of the leasing system in other States, notably Louisiana, Rhode
Island and others, is definite and conspicuous.

_The Obstacles to this Proposed System._--Before the proposed system
of titles to shellfish ground can be put in actual operation, it
is absolutely necessary to have all rights and special privileges
pertaining to shore areas revested in State control by repeal of
certain laws. In this centralization of authority four main factors
must be carefully considered: (1) communal rights to fisheries in
tidal areas, as in the colonial beach law of 1641-47; (2) the theory,
practice and results of town supervision and control; (3) the rights
of riparian owners; (4) the rights of the fishermen and of all other
inhabitants of the State. So important are all four that it is
necessary to discuss each in turn.

(1) _Communal Fishery Rights of the Public._--The fundamental principle
upon which the shellfish laws of the State are founded is the so-called
beach or free fishing right of the public. While in other States shore
property extends only to mean high water, in Massachusetts, Maine and
Virginia, the earliest States to enact colonial laws, the riparian
property holders own to mean low-water mark. But by specific exception
and according to further provisions of this same ancient law the right
of fishing (which includes the shellfisheries) below high-water mark is
free to any inhabitant of the Commonwealth. The act reads as follows:--

    SECTION 2. Every inhabitant who is an householder shall have
    free fishing and fowling in any great ponds, bays, coves and
    rivers, so far as the sea ebbs and flows within the precincts
    of the town where they dwell, unless the freemen of the same
    town or the General Court have otherwise appropriated them.

It is necessary that some change be made in this law, which at present
offers no protection to the planters. Its repeal is by no means
necessary, as the matter can be adjusted by merely adding "except for
the taking of mollusks from the areas set apart and leased for the
cultivation of mollusks."

(2) _Results of Town Administration of Mollusk Fisheries._--All
authority to control mollusk privileges was originally vested in the
State. The towns, as the ancient statutes will show, derived this
authority from the higher State authority, developed their systems
of local regulations or by-laws only with the State permission, and
even now they enjoy the fruits of these concessions solely with the
active consent of the Legislature. Thus the State has ever been, and
is at present, the source of town control. The towns have no rights of
supervision and control over shellfisheries except as derived from the
General Court. The State gave them this authority in the beginning. It
follows, therefore, that the Legislature can withdraw this delegated
authority at any time when it is convinced that it is for the benefit
of the State so to do. To those few who are directly profiting at the
expense of the many, this resumption of authority by the State may seem
at first sight a high-handed proceeding, but a brief survey of the
facts will prove it to be justly warranted and eminently desirable. The
present system of town control has had a sufficient trial. It is in its
very essentials an un-business-like proceeding. A large number of towns
acting in this matter as disorganized units working independently of
one another could not in the nature of things evolve any co-ordinated
and unified system which would be to the advantage of all. The problems
involved are too complicated, requiring both broad and special
knowledge, which cannot be acquired in a short term of experience.
Lastly, the temptations of local politics have been found to be too
insistent to guarantee completely fair allotment of valuable privileges.

The Legislature has not only acted unwisely in allowing the towns
in this respect thus to mismanage their affairs, but it has not
fulfilled its duty to the Commonwealth as a whole. The Legislature
has unwittingly delegated valuable sources of wealth and revenue, the
fruits of which should have been enjoyed at least in some degree,
directly or indirectly, by all citizens of the Commonwealth alike as
well as by those of the coast towns. Many of the coast cities and
towns have dealt with this opportunity very unwisely, and few have
developed or even maintained unimpaired this extremely valuable asset
of the State. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that such important
sources of wealth as the shellfisheries are not the property of the
coast towns alone; they are the property of the whole Commonwealth,
and the whole Commonwealth should share in these benefits. In
allowing these valuable resources to be mismanaged and dissipated by
the shore towns, the Legislature has done a great injury to all the
inland communities, and, indeed, even to those very coast towns for
whose benefit such legislation was enacted. The Legislature was not
justified, in the first place, in granting jurisdiction over these
important industries belonging equally to the whole Commonwealth and
to the coast towns. It was but an experiment. Inasmuch as these towns
have grossly mismanaged the trust placed in them, the Legislature is
doubly under the obligation to take advantage of the knowledge gained
by this experimental delegation of the State authority to cities and
towns. The completely obvious obligation of the Legislature is to
remove what is either tacitly or frankly acknowledged by many city and
town authorities to be an impossible burden upon the city or town, and
to restore to State officers the general administrative control and
supervision of the public rights in the shellfisheries.

(3) _Riparian Ownership does not include Exclusive Fishing
Rights._--The third objection is that in the assumption of State
control is involved the much-discussed and vaguely understood question
of riparian ownership. To make plain the conditions relative to the
fisheries, including the shellfisheries on the tidal flats, it should
be borne in mind that in only four States, Virginia and Maryland,
Massachusetts and Maine, does the title of the riparian owner extend
to low-water mark, but in these States the right of fishing, fowling
and boating are specifically mentioned as not included in the title.
Under the existing laws owners of seashore property in Massachusetts
possess certain rights (though perhaps not in all cases clearly
defined) over the tidal areas within 100 rods of the mean high-water
mark. As the proposed system of shellfish grants deals with this
territory between high and low water marks, it is necessary to see in
what manner, if any, the rights at present possessed by riparian owners
would be impaired by the leasing of certain rights of fishing. While
the riparian owner has in a measure authority over the territory which
borders his upland, there are certain specific limitations to this
authority. He does not have exclusive rights of hunting, boating and
fishing between the tide lines on his own property, but participates
in these rights equally with every citizen of this Commonwealth. The
courts have distinctly held that shellfish are fish, and that a man may
fish--_i.e._, dig clams--on the tidal flats adjoining the shore without
the consent of the riparian owner.

(4) _Rights of the Fishermen and of All Citizens._--The fishermen as
a class are best located to benefit most from an opportunity to lease
exclusive fishing rights, whether they chance to be riparian owners
or not, though every other citizen of this Commonwealth who so desired
would not be excluded from an opportunity to secure a similar lease.
The personnel of the fisher class has vastly changed in the past
decade. There are to-day two distinct types: The permanent resident,
usually native born, bound to a definite locality by ties of home and
kin and of long association,--a most useful type of citizen. Contrasted
with this is the other, a more rapidly increasing class,--foreign born,
unnaturalized, nomadic, a humble soldier of fortune, a hanger-on in
the outskirts of urban civilization, eking out an existence by selling
or eating the shellfish from the public fishing grounds. Too ignorant
to appreciate the importance of sanitary precaution, the alien clammer
haunts the proscribed territory polluted by sewage, and does much to
keep the dangerous typhoid germ in active circulation in the community.

The public mollusk fisheries only foster such types of non-producers,
and prevent them from becoming desirable citizens. The best class
of fishermen and citizens has no advantage over the worst, but is
practically compelled to engage in the same sort of petty buccaneering
and wilfully destructive digging, in order to prevent that portion
and privilege of fishing which the law says shall belong to every
householder and freeman of the Commonwealth from being appropriated by
these humble freebooters, who are at once the annoyance, the terror and
the despair of cottagers and shore dwellers.

All these conditions would be almost completely corrected by the
lease of the flats to individuals, thus removing from the fishermen
stultifying competition and compelling these irresponsible wandering
aliens to acquire definite location. But most particularly a system of
leasing would permit each person to profit according to his industry,
perseverance, thrift and foresight.

_The Grants._--As previously stated, the grants should be made into
two divisions: (1) including suitable areas between the high and low
water marks; (2) territory below mean low-water mark. The privilege of
planting and growing all shellfish should be given for both classes
of grants. Class 1 would be primarily for the planting of clams,
with additional rights over oysters and quahaugs; class 2 would be
primarily for the planting of quahaugs and oysters, with possible
rights over clams and scallops.

The grants should be leased for a limited period of years, with the
privilege of renewal provided the owner had fulfilled the stipulated
requirements of the lease. In order, however, that these leases should
not degenerate into deeds, to be handed down from father to son, it
might be necessary to assign a maximum time limit during which a man
might remain in control of any particular lease. This would be merely
fair play to all concerned, for it would not be just to allow one man
to monopolize a particularly fine piece of property, while his equally
deserving neighbor had land of far less productive value. In connection
with this clause should follow some provisions for payment of the value
of improvements. Should there be more than one claimant for lease of
any particular area, some principle of selection, such as priority of
application, highest bid, etc., should be established.

That there may be no holding of grants for purposes other than those
stipulated in the agreement, there should be a certain cultural
standard of excellence to be decided upon relative to the use made
of the granted areas. A clause of this kind is necessary in order to
keep the system in a proper state of efficiency, and to insure the
development of the shellfish industries.

All taxes on the capital invested in these grants and taxes upon the
income should go to the town in which the leasehold is situated. In
addition, there should be a just and equable revenue assessed by
the State on every grant, as rent for the same. This rent should be
apportioned according to a fixed scale in determining the relative
values of the grants, and should be paid annually, under penalty of
forfeiture. The revenue might be divided into two parts: one part to
go to the State department having the control of the shellfisheries,
for the maintenance of a survey, control and protection of property
on leased areas, and other work; the second part to go to the town
treasury of the community in which the grant is located, to be expended
under the direction and control of responsible State officials in
restocking barren flats and otherwise developing the shellfish upon
its unleased territory which is open for free public use.

_Grants to be Nontransferable._--These grants, while designed for the
use of all citizens of the Commonwealth, should be made especially
available for the poor man with little capital. In order to assure
the poor man of the enjoyment of his privilege, it is necessary to
guard against the possibility of undue monopolization. Leases must,
therefore, be strictly nontransferable. Neither should areas be rented
to another individual under any consideration whatever. Every grant
must be for the benefit of its individual owner. He should be at
liberty to hire laborers to assist him in working his grant, but not
to transfer it in any way. Any attempt on his part to do so should not
only immediately result in the forfeiture of his grant, but should also
subject him to a heavy penalty.

_Survey._--In order to guard against confusion and to maintain an
orderly system, an accurate survey of all granted areas should be made.
The ranges of every grant should be determined and recorded. The plots
should be numbered and properly staked or buoyed, and a record of the
same, giving the name of the owner, yearly rental and value, should
be kept on file at the proper town and State offices. The same system
which is now in operation in the oyster industry of other States should
be applied to all the mollusk fisheries of Massachusetts.

_Administration._--The department of the State government under whose
jurisdiction this system of leases may come should be indued with full
authority, properly defined, to supervise the grants, furnish them with
adequate protection by the employment of State or town police, oversee
the survey, allot the grants, and to exercise such other powers as may
be necessary to develop the system, remedy its defects and strengthen
its efficiency.

_Protection of Property and of the Rights granted by the Lease._--No
system of shellfish grants is possible without absolute protection.
The lessee must be permitted to cultivate his grant free from outside
interference, and thus, with reasonably good fortune, he can enjoy the
fruits of his labors. This protection, which is the greatest and most
vital need of the entire system, and the foundation upon which depends
its whole success, must be insured by proper legislation rigorously
enforced, and accompanied by severe penalties.

_Leasing of the Grants._--Every citizen of the Commonwealth is entitled
to participate in this system, but for obvious reasons an inhabitant
of any coast town should be given first choice of grants within the
boundary of his particular town. The first grants might be given by
allotment, but after the system had become well established, they could
be issued in the order of their application.

_Water Pollution._--The sanitary condition of the marketed shellfish
taken from contaminated waters is not only at present to some extent
endangering the public health, but is placing an undeserved stigma
upon a most reputable and valuable source of food supply for the
public. The public should demand laws closing, after proper scientific
investigation, these polluted areas, and conferring the power to
thoroughly enforce such laws. The danger arising from contamination
should be reduced to a minimum by prescribing some definite regulations
for transferring shellfish from these polluted waters to places free
from contamination, where the shellfish may in brief season be rendered
fit for the market.

It should be unlawful to use any brand, label or other device for
designation, intended to give the impression that certain oysters
offered for sale were grown at specified places, _e.g._, Cotuit,
Wellfleet, Wareham, etc., unless such oysters were actually planted,
grown or cultivated within the towns or waters designated, for a period
of at least three months immediately previous to the date of marketing.
Furthermore, there should be appointed proper inspectors, whose duties
would be to guarantee by certificates, labels and stamps the purity
of shellfish placed upon the market, and likewise have the power of
enforcing severe penalties on violators.


               By D. L. BELDING, assisted by F. C. LANE.

  DR. GEORGE W. FIELD, _Chairman, Commission on Fisheries and Game_.

SIR:--I herewith submit the following report upon the present extent
and condition of the shellfish industries of Massachusetts. The
following biological survey was made in connection with the work done
under chapters 49, 73, 78 and 93, Resolves of 1905, and chapter 74,
Resolves of 1906. The statistics and survey records which furnish the
basis of the report were obtained by D. L. Belding and F. C. Lane.

                        Respectfully submitted,

                                                       DAVID L. BELDING,


When money was first appropriated in 1905 for a three-year
investigation of the life, habits and methods of culture of the clam,
quahaug, oyster and scallop, provision was made for a survey of the
present productive and nonproductive areas suitable for the cultivation
of these four shellfish. The following report embodies the results of
this survey.

_A. Method of Work._--In making this survey two objects were in view,
which permit the grouping of the work under two main heads:--

(1) A survey of the productive and nonproductive shellfish areas of
the State was undertaken, showing by charts the location, extent and
abundance of each of the four shellfish, as well as the biological
conditions of the waters and soils of the areas along the entire coast
which could be made more productive under proper cultural methods.
Wherever possible, information as to the production of certain areas
was obtained from the shellfishermen as a supplement to the survey work.

(2) Statistical records of the four shellfish industries were
formulated, showing their value and extent as regards (_a_) production,
(_b_) capital invested, (_c_) men employed. Data for these records were
obtained from town records, from market reports and from the dealers
and shellfishermen, both by personal interviews and by tabulated forms
of printed questions. Owing to the present chaotic condition of the
shellfisheries, it has been impossible to obtain absolutely exact data.
The statistics that have been obtained are to all purposes correct, and
are the most exact figures ever published on the subject.

_B. Value of the Survey._--Before any reform measures of practical
value can be advanced, accurate and comprehensive knowledge of the
present shellfish situation in Massachusetts is absolutely essential.
Up to this time there have been only vague and inaccurate conjectures
as to the value of the shellfisheries, and even the fisherman, outside
his own district, has little knowledge of their extent and their
economic possibilities. The consumer has far less knowledge. For
the first time this problem of the Massachusetts shellfisheries has
been approached from the point of view of the economic biologist.
This survey is intended to present a concise yet detailed account of
the present status of the shellfisheries of Massachusetts, and is
therefore the first step towards the preservation of our shellfisheries
by providing a workable basis for the restocking of the barren and
unproductive areas. It is hoped that it will be of interest both to the
fishermen and consumers.

_C. Presentation of the Report._--The first part of the report presents
the general results of the survey, _i.e._, the present condition of
the shellfisheries, while the second part deals directly with details
of the survey. The report is divided into four parts, each shellfish
being considered separately. Under each is grouped (1) the industry as
a whole; (2) a statistical summary of the industry for the whole State;
(3) the towns of the State and their individual industries. A series
of charts showing the shellfish areas of the State makes clear the
description of the survey.

_Geographical Situation._--The peculiar geographical situation of
Massachusetts renders possible the production of the four edible
shellfish--clam, oyster, quahaug and scallop,--in great abundance.
Cape Cod forms the dividing line between the northern and the southern
fauna, which furnish the coast of Massachusetts with a diversity of
molluscan life. Zoölogically, the Massachusetts coast is the point
where the habitats of the northern (the soft clam, _Mya arenaria_)
and the southern clam (the quahaug, hard clam or little neck, _Venus
mercenaria_) overlap. Nature has favored Massachusetts with a coast
indented with bays, estuaries and inlets which are especially adapted
for the growth of marine food mollusks.

_Former Natural Abundance._--If we compare the natural shellfish areas
of to-day with those of former years, we find a great change. All
four shellfish formerly throve in large numbers in the numerous bays
and indentations of our coast line. The area between tide marks was
formerly inhabited by quantities of soft clams, and the muddy patches
just below low-water mark produced great numbers of quahaugs. In the
estuaries were extensive natural oyster beds. On our shoals it was
possible to gather many thousand bushels of scallops. Now thousands
of acres once productive lie barren, and we have but a remnant of the
former abundant yield.

_Historical Wastefulness._--History tells us that the Pilgrims at
Plymouth "sucked the abundance of the seas" and found health and
wealth. But between the lines of history we can read a tale of
wastefulness and prodigality with hardly a parallel, and to-day we
find the natural heritage of the shellfisheries almost totally wasted
through the careless indifference of our forefathers. Prof. James L.
Kellogg, in the introduction to his "Notes on Marine Food Mollusks of
Louisiana," gives the following excellent account of the exploiting of
natural resources:--

    As one looks over the record of the settling of this country,
    and notes how a continent was reclaimed from a state of
    nature, he can hardly fail to be impressed with the reckless
    wastefulness of his ancestors in their use of the treasures
    which nature, through eons of time, had been collecting.
    In thousands of cases, natural resources, which, carefully
    conserved, would have provided comfort and even luxury for
    generations of men, have been dissipated and destroyed
    with no substantial benefit to any one. They scattered our
    inheritance. Such knowledge dulls a feeling of gratitude that
    may be due to them for their many beneficent acts,--though
    the truth probably is that few of them ever had a thought of
    their descendants. Men seldom seem to have a weighty sense of
    responsibility toward others than those who immediately follow
    them. The history of the prodigality of our ancestors since
    their occupation of this great continent has not fully been
    written,--and it should be, in such a way that the present
    generation might know it; for sometimes it seems as if the
    present generation were as criminally careless of the natural
    resources that remain to it as were any of those that are gone.
    Perhaps it is hardly that. We have learned some wisdom from the
    past, because our attention has recently been drawn to the fact
    of the annihilation of several former sources of subsistence.
    Rapidly in America, in recent years, the struggle to obtain
    support for a family has become more severe to the wage earner.
    In thirty years the increasing fierceness of competition
    has resulted in a revolution of business methods. In every
    profession and in every line of business only the most capable
    are able to obtain what the mediocre received for their honest
    labor in the last generation.

    But it is easier to condemn the past for its failures than
    to recognize and condemn those of our own generation. The
    average man really has a blind and unreasoning faith in his
    own time, and to laud only its successes is to be applauded
    as an optimist. In the present stage of our national life we
    certainly have no room for the pessimist, who is merely a
    dyspeptic faultfinder; nor for the optimist, who blinds his
    eyes to our faults and mistakes, and so fails to read their
    priceless lessons. Instead, our intelligence, as a race, has
    reached that degree of development which should give it the
    courage to consider "things as they are."

    Considering things as they are, we must admit that we are not
    realizing our obligations to future generations in many of
    the ways in which we are misusing our natural resources. This
    waste is often deliberate, though usually due to the notion
    that nature's supplies, especially of living organisms, are
    limitless. The waste of 70 or 80 per cent, in lumbering the
    Oregon "big trees," and the clean sweep of the Louisiana pine,
    now in progress, is deliberately calculated destruction for
    present gain,--and the future may take care of itself. In
    making millionaires of a very few men, most of whom are still
    living, a large part of the lower peninsula of Michigan was
    made a hopeless desert. To "cut and come again" is not a part
    of the moral codes of such men. It seems to mean sacrifice; and
    yet they are woefully mistaken, even in that.

    But most often, no doubt, the extinction of useful animals and
    plants, that we have so often witnessed, has been due to the
    ignorant assumption that, under any circumstances, the supply
    would last forever. This idea seems especially to prevail
    concerning marine food animals. The fact that the sea is vast
    might naturally give the impression that its inhabitants are
    numberless.... But when a natural food supply nears complete
    annihilation, men begin to think of the necessity of a method
    of artificial culture.[1]

_Present Unimproved Resources._--In spite of the wastefulness of former
generations, many areas can again be made to produce the normal yield
if proper and adequate measures are promptly taken to restore to the
flats, estuaries and bays of Massachusetts their normal productive
capacity. In spite of the fact that some of the natural beds have
entirely disappeared, either "fished out" or buried under the débris of
civilization, and others are in imminent danger of becoming exhausted,
Massachusetts still possesses a sufficient natural supply to restock
most of these barren areas.

_Possibilities of Development._--Opportunities for development are
alluring. The shellfisheries could be increased, in these days of rapid
transit and marketing facilities, into industries which would furnish
steady employment for thousands of men and women, both directly and
indirectly, resulting in a product valued at a minimum of $3,000,000
annually, with possibilities of indefinite expansion. At present the
idea of marine farming attracts popular attention. The conditions are
parallel to agriculture, except that in the case of marine farming the
crops are more certain,--_i.e._, are not subject to so many fatalities.
The experiments of the Department of Fisheries and Game for the past
three years have proved that cultivation of shellfish offers great
inducements and profit to both individuals and towns. When the present
waste areas are again made productive, the value of the annual catch
should be increased tenfold.

         _Statistical Summary of the Shellfisheries for 1907._

                   |     PRODUCTION.     ||         |           |
  NAME OF MOLLUSK. +----------+----------++ Area in |  Capital  |    Men
                   | Bushels. |  Value.  || Acres.  | invested. | employed.
  Clam,            |  153,865 | $150,440 ||   5,111 |  $18,142  |   1,361
  Oyster,          |  161,182 |  176,142 ||   2,400 |  268,702  |     159
  Quahaug,         |  144,044 |  194,687 ||  28,090 |   94,260  |     745
  Scallop,         |  103,000 |  164,436 ||  30,900 |  121,753  |     647
      Total,       |  562,091 | $685,705 ||  66,501 | $502,857  |   2,912

In the above table the areas for the scallop, clam and quahaug are only
approximate. The scallop and quahaug fisheries cover nearly the same
areas, and employ to a great extent the same men and capital.

         _Annual Yields (in Bushels) of the Shellfisheries of
     Massachusetts since 1879, from United States Fish Commission

      YEAR.      |  Clam.  | Quahaug. | Oyster. | Scallop. | Totals.
  1879,          | 158,621 |   11,050 |  36,000 |   10,542 | 216,218
  1887,          | 230,659 |   35,540 |  43,183 |   41,964 | 351,346
  1888,          | 243,777 |   26,165 |  45,631 |   26,168 | 341,741
  1898,          | 147,095 |   63,817 | 101,225 |  128,863 | 441,000
  1902,          | 227,941 |  106,818 | 103,386 |   66,150 | 504,295
  1905,          | 217,519 |  166,526 | 112,580 |   43,872 | 540,497
  1907,[2]       | 153,865 |  144,044 | 161,182 |  103,000 | 562,091

Massachusetts fishermen to-day receive an annual income of $685,705
from the shellfisheries, which approximately cover a productive
area of 40,000 acres. Under the present methods of production, the
average value per acre is only $17; each acre, if properly farmed,
should furnish an annual production of at least $100, or six times
the present yield. The shellfish areas of Massachusetts which are at
present utilized are giving almost a minimum production, instead of
the enormous yield which they are capable of furnishing. All that
is necessary to procure the maximum yield is the application of
systematic cultural methods, instead of relying on an impoverished
natural supply. Not only are the productive areas furnishing far less
than they are capable of producing, but also Massachusetts possesses
6,000 acres of barren flats, which should become, under the proper
cultural methods, as valuable as the productive areas. (This has been
experimentally demonstrated by the commission.) While it is possible
to develop, through cultural methods, these latent natural resources,
it will take years to bring them to a high degree of development. It
can be partially accomplished, at least, in the next few years, and the
present production increased several times, _as nature responds to the
slightest intelligent effort of man, and gives large returns_.


_A. Is there a Decline?_

(1) So obvious is the general decline of the shellfisheries that almost
every one is aware, through the increasing prices and difficulty of
supplying the demand, that the natural supply is becoming exhausted.

(2) Statistical figures of the shellfish production not only show a
decline, but conceal a rapid diminution of the supply.

(3) Production statistics alone should never be taken as typifying the
real conditions of an industry, as such figures are often extremely
deceiving. For instance:--

(4) The increased prices, stimulated by an increasing demand, have
caused a greater number of men, equipped with the best modern
implements, to swell the production by overworking shellfish areas
which in reality are not one-fourth so productive as they were ten
years ago.

While the general decline of the shellfisheries is a matter of public
knowledge, specific illustrations of this decline have been lacking.
The present report calls attention to actual facts as proofs of the
decline of each shellfishery, by a comparison of the present conditions
in various localities with the conditions of 1879. The only past record
of Massachusetts shellfisheries of any importance is found in the
report of the United States Fish Commission for 1883, and, although
this is very limited, it is sufficient to furnish many examples of the
extinction or decline of the shellfisheries in certain localities.

In a general consideration of the shellfisheries, it is noticeable that
in certain localities the extinction of the industry has been total, in
others only partial, while others have remained unchanged or have even
improved. This last class is found either where the natural advantages
are so great that the resources have not been exploited, or where
men have, through wise laws and cultural methods (as in the oyster
industry), preserved and built up the shellfisheries.

_1879_ v. _1907_.--In comparing the present condition of the
shellfisheries with that of 1879, it will be seen that many changes
have taken place. Even twenty-five years ago inroads were being made
upon the natural supply; from that time to the present can be traced
a steady decline. During the past five years the production has been
augmented by additional men, who have entered into the business
under the attraction of higher prices, and the extension of the
quahaug and oyster fisheries. Though the annual catch is greater,
a disproportionately greater amount of time, labor and capital is
required to secure an equal quantity of shellfish.

                            |   1907.  |   1879.  |   Gain.
  Production (bushels),     |  562,991 |  264,818 |  297,273
  Men,                      |    2,912 |      910 |    2,092
  Capital,                  | $502,857 | $165,000 | $337,857
  Area (acres),             |   66,501 |   66,501 |        -

The following instances illustrate specific decline in the various
natural shellfisheries:--

(1) Oyster industry, natural beds: Wareham, Marion, Bourne, Wellfleet,
Charles River.

(2) Sea clam industry: Dennis, Chatham, Nantucket.

(3) Scallop industry: Buzzards Bay and north side of Cape Cod

(4) Clam industry: Essex, Plymouth, Duxbury, Buzzards Bay, Annisquam,
Wellfleet, Nantucket.

(5) Quahaug industry: Chatham, Buzzards Bay, Fall River district.

These are only a few of the more prominent cases. Similar cases will be
found all along the coast of Massachusetts, and no one can deny that
the natural supply is rapidly becoming exhausted, and that methods are
needed to increase the production, or at least to save the little that

_B. Causes of the Decline._

I. _An Increasing Demand._--The indirect cause of the decline of
the shellfisheries is the increased demand. To-day more shellfish
are consumed than ever before, and the demand is much greater each
succeeding year. It is an economic principle that there must be an
equilibrium between supply and demand. If the demand is increasing,
either the supply has to increase to meet the demand, or the price of
the commodity goes up and a new equilibrium is established. The supply
must equal the demand of the market. This increasing demand has worked
havoc with the shellfisheries. There was a time when the natural supply
was of such abundance that the moderate demand of those early days
could be met without injury to the fishery. Soon this limit was passed,
and with a steadily increasing demand came a corresponding drain on the
natural resources, which little by little started a decline, the result
of which is to-day apparent.

The ill-advised policy of the past has been to check the demand by
various devices, such as closed seasons, limited daily production,
etc. These not only have proved without benefit to the fisherman,
but also have hurt the consumer by the increased price. The demand
can be checked by raising the price, but this tends towards a class
distinction between the rich and the poor. The poor man should be able
to enjoy "the bounties of the sea" as well as the rich. The policy of
the future should be not to check the demand, but rather to increase
the supply.

Several causes contribute to this demand, which has unlimited
possibilities of expansion:--

(1) The popularity of shellfish as an article of diet is steadily
increasing, not merely for its nutritive value, but for variety and
change in diet. Fashionable fads, _i.e._, the "little neck" of the
restaurants and hotels, contribute to the popularity of these shellfish.

(2) In the present age, transportation facilities and cold storage make
possible shipments to all parts of the United States, and continually
widen the market for sea foods.

(3) The influx of summer people to the seashore not only causes an
additional summer demand, but also widens the popular knowledge of
these edible mollusks.

(4) Advertising and more attractive methods of preserving and selling
sea food by the dealers still further increase the demand.

II. _Overfishing._--The immediate and direct cause of the decline
is _overfishing_. Increased demand causes a severe drain upon the
shellfish beds, which soon leads to _over_fishing. It is not merely
the hard working of the beds, but the continuous unmethodical and
indiscriminate fishing which has caused the total extermination of once
flourishing beds in certain localities. Under present methods a bed is
worked until all its natural recuperatory power is exhausted, and then
it is thrust aside as worthless, a barren area. Prof. Jacob Reighard,
in "Methods of Plankton Investigation in their Relation to Practical
Problems,"[3] aptly sums up the situation in his opening paragraph:--

    In this country the fisherman as a rule continues to fish
    in any locality until fishing in that locality has become
    unprofitable. He then moves his operations to new waters until
    these in turn are exhausted. He is apt to look upon each new
    body of water as inexhaustible, and rarely has occasion to ask
    himself whether it is possible to determine in advance the
    amount of fish that he may annually take from the water without
    soon depleting it.

In this way the shellfish beds have become exhausted through the
indifference and lack of knowledge on the part of the fishing public.
In colonial days the resources of the shellfisheries were apparently
inexhaustible. The conviction that man could ever exhaust the resources
of nature took firm hold of the Puritan mind, and even in the present
generation many still cling to this illogical doctrine, although proof
to the contrary can be seen on all sides. This idea has caused great
harm to the shellfisheries, stimulating men to wreck certain localities
by overfishing.

III. _Pollution of Harbors and Estuaries and the Ill Effects upon
Public Health through the Shellfisheries._--The unscientific disposal
of sewage, sludge, garbage and factory waste may tend to rapidly fill
up the harbor channels, as well as the areas where the currents are not
so rapid.

Competent authorities scout the idea that Boston harbor is at present
filling up to any considerable degree with sewage sludge, but the
problem must be met in the not distant future. This sewage sludge upon
entering salt or brackish water precipitates much more rapidly than in
fresh water or upon land, and becomes relatively insoluble, hence the
accumulation in harbors, _e.g._, Boston and New Bedford harbors and
the estuaries of the Merrimac, Taunton and other rivers. This sludge,
instead of undergoing the normal rapid oxidation and nitrification,
as it does when exposed to the air on land, undergoes in the sea
water a series of changes, mainly putrefactive, which results in the
production of chemical substances which in solution may (1) drive away
the fish which in incredible quantities formerly resorted to that
place; (2) impair the vitality and even kill whatever fish spawn or
fry may be present; (3) check the growth of or completely destroy the
microscopic plants and animals which serve as food for the young fish
and shellfish; (4) by developing areas of oily film floating upon the
surface of the water, enormous numbers of the surface-swimming larvæ of
clams, quahaugs, scallops, oysters, mussels and other marine animals
may be destroyed annually. But most serious of all is the fact that
all the edible mollusks, notably the clam, quahaug, oyster and mussel,
act as living filters, whose function is to remove from the water
the bacteria and other microscopic plants and animals. Most of these
microscopic organisms serve as food for the mollusk; and in instances
where the mollusk is eaten raw or imperfectly cooked, man is liable to
infection, if the bacillus of typhoid fever or other disease chances
to be present in the mollusk. Though the chance of such infection is
remote, it is nevertheless actually operative. Many typhoid epidemics
in this country and abroad have been found to be directly referable to
shellfish from sewage-polluted waters. For these reasons approximately
1,500 acres in Boston harbor and 700 acres in New Bedford harbor
have become unsuitable for the growth of shellfish; and the State
Board of Health, after investigation, decided that clams, oysters and
quahaugs found within these areas are likely to be the direct cause of
a dangerous epidemic of typhoid. For this reason the taking of these
shellfish for any purpose was very properly prohibited; but at the last
session of the Legislature a bill was passed which permitted the taking
of such shellfish for bait, upon securing permits from the Board of
Health, and providing heavy penalties for both buying and selling. As
a matter of fact, however, it is well-nigh impracticable to properly
enforce this law, for the reason that it is possible only in very rare
instances to keep any one lot of clams known to have been dug under
these conditions under surveillance from the time of digging until they
are placed upon the hook as bait. Complete prevention of the _taking_
of such shellfish is the only method by which the public health can be
properly safeguarded. Even though in our opinion the annual financial
loss to the public from the destruction of this public fishery by the
dumping of city sewage into the water is not less than $400,000, the
public health is of greater consequence, and should not be jeopardized,
as is the fact under present conditions. Until such a time as the
public realize that economic disposal of sewage must take place on land
rather than in water, laws absolutely preventing any contact with the
infected shellfish should be enforced without exception. In instances
like these it is greatly to be deplored that but rarely under our
system of government can legislation, which the best knowledge and
common-sense demand for the public weal, be passed in its adequate and
beneficial entirety, but is so frequently emasculated in the selfish
interests of a few persons.

IV. _Natural Agencies._--The above causes are given as they are
obviously important, but by no means are they to be considered the only
reasons. Geographic and climatic changes often explain the extinction
of shellfish in certain localities.


Not only has this survey shown by specific examples the alarming but
actual decline of the natural shellfish supply (in spite of deceptive
production statistics), but it has brought to light numerous evils
of various kinds. These abuses have developed gradually with the
rise of the shellfisheries, until at the present day they cannot be
overlooked or considered unimportant. So closely are these connected
with the present status of our shellfishery that upon their abolition
depends its future success or failure. Some need immediate attention;
others will require attention later. After a thorough and competent
investigation, remedies for the correction of each evil should be

In the future Massachusetts will have to utilize all her wealth of
natural resources, to keep her leading position among the other States
of the Union. To do this she should turn to her sea fisheries, which
have in the past made her rich, and hold forth prospects of greater
wealth in the future. Untold possibilities of wealth rest with her
shellfisheries, if obsolete methods and traditions can be cast aside.
In any age of progress the ancient and worthless must be buried
beneath the ruins of the past, while the newer and better take their
place. There is no more flagrant example of obsolete methods and
traditions holding in check the development of an industry than with
the shellfisheries, and it is time that Massachusetts realized these

The shellfisheries of Massachusetts are in a chaotic state, both
legally and economically. The finest natural facilities are wasted,
and thousands of acres of profitable flats are allowed to lie barren
merely for a lack of initiative on the part of the general public.
This chaotic and unproductive state will exist until both the consumer
and the fishermen alike understand the true condition of affairs, and
realize that in the bays, estuaries and flats of Massachusetts lies as
much or more wealth, acre for acre, as in the most productive market

In Rhode Island the clam and scallop fisheries have almost disappeared.
Five or ten years from now the shellfisheries of Massachusetts will be
in a similar condition, and beyond remedy. Now is the time for reform.
The solution of the problem is simple. Shellfish farming is the only
possible way in which Massachusetts can restore her natural supply to
its former abundance.

I. _The Shellfish Laws._--The first evils which demand attention
are the existing shellfish laws. While these are supposed to wisely
regulate the shellfisheries, in reality they do more harm than good,
and are direct obstacles to any movement toward improving the natural
resources. Before Massachusetts can take any steps toward cultivating
her unproductive shellfish areas, it will be necessary to modify the
worst of these laws.

_A. Fishery Rights of the Public._--The fundamental principle upon
which the shellfish laws of the State are founded is the so-called
beach or free fishing rights of the public. While in other States
property extends only to mean high water, in Massachusetts the property
holders own to extreme low-water mark. Nevertheless, according to
further provisions of this ancient law, the right of fishing (which
includes the shellfisheries) below high-water mark is free to any
inhabitant of the Commonwealth.

(1) _Origin._--The first authentic record of this law is found under
an act of Massachusetts, in 1641-47, by which every householder
was allowed "free fishing and fowling" in any of the great ponds,
bays, coves and rivers, as far "as the sea ebbs and flows," in their
respective towns, unless "the freemen" or the General Court "had
otherwise appropriated them." From this date the shellfisheries were
declared to be forever the property of the whole people, _i.e._, the
State, and have been for a long period open to any inhabitant of the
State who wished to dig the shellfish for food or for bait.

(2) _Early Benefits._--In the early days, when the natural supply was
apparently inexhaustible and practically the entire population resided
on or near the seacoast, it was just that all people should have common
rights to the shore fisheries. As long as the natural supply was more
than sufficient for the demand, no law could have been better adapted
for the public good.

(3) _Present Inadequacy._--Two hundred and fifty years have passed
since this law was first made. The condition of the shellfisheries has
changed. No longer do the flats of Massachusetts yield the enormous
harvest of former years, but lie barren and unproductive. The law which
once was a benefit to all has now become antiquated, and incapable of
meeting the new conditions.

(4) _Evil Effects._--If this law were merely antiquated, it could
be laid aside unnoticed. On the contrary, as applied to the present
conditions of the shellfisheries it not only checks any advancement,
but works positive harm. From the mistaken comprehension of the
so-called beach rights of the people, the general public throughout
the State is forced to pay an exorbitant price for sea food, and the
enterprising fishermen are deprived of a more profitable livelihood.
The present law discriminates against the progressive majority of
fishermen in order to benefit a small unprogressive element.

(5) _Protection._--If shellfish farming is ever to be put on a paying
basis, it is essential that the planter have absolute _protection_. No
man is willing to invest capital and labor when protection cannot be
guaranteed. What good does it do a man to plant a hundred bushels of
clams, if the next person has a legal right to dig them? Since the
law absolutely refuses any protection to the shellfish culturist,
Massachusetts can never restock her barren flats and re-establish
her shellfisheries until this law is modified to meet the changed

(6) _Who are the Objectors?_ Objectors to any new system are always
found, and are not lacking in the case of shellfish culture. These
would immediately raise the cry that the public is being deprived of
its rights. To-day the public has fewer rights than ever. The present
law causes class distinctions, and a few are benefited at the expense
of the public. The industrious fisherman suffers because a few of the
worthless, unenterprising class, who have no energy, do not wish others
to succeed where they cannot. In every seacoast town in Massachusetts
the more enlightened fishermen see clearly that the only way to
preserve the shellfisheries is to _cultivate the barren areas_.

Hon. B. F. Wood, in his report of the shellfisheries of New York, in
1906, clearly states the case.[4]

    There is, unfortunately, in some of the towns and villages
    upon our coast an unprogressive element, composed of those who
    prefer to reap where they have not sown; who rely upon what
    they term their "natural right" to rake where they may choose
    in the public waters. They deplete, but do not build up. They
    think because it may be possible to go out upon the waters for
    a few hours in the twenty-four (when the tide serves) and dig a
    half peck of shellfish, that it is sufficient reason why such
    lands should not be leased by the State to private planters. It
    might as well be said that it is wrong for the government to
    grant homestead farms to settlers, because a few blackberries
    might be plucked upon the lands by any who cared to look for

The following is taken from the report of the Massachusetts
Commissioners on Fisheries and Game for 1906:[5]--

    There are at least four distinct classes within our
    Commonwealth, each of which either derive direct benefits from
    the mollusk fisheries of our coast, or are indirectly benefited
    by the products of the flats:--

    (1) The general public,--the consumers, who ultimately pay the
    cost, who may either buy the joint product of the labor and
    capital invested in taking and distributing the shellfish from
    either natural or artificial beds, or who may dig shellfish for
    food or bait purposes for their own or family use.

    (2) The capitalist, who seeks a productive investment for money
    or brains, or both. Under present laws, such are practically
    restricted to _distribution_ of shellfish, except in the case
    of the oyster, where capital may be employed for _production_
    as well,--an obvious advantage both to capital and to the

    (3) The fishermen, who, either as a permanent or temporary
    vocation, market the natural yield of the waters; or, as in the
    case of the shellfisheries, may with a little capital increase
    the natural yield and availability by cultivating an area of
    the tidal flats after the manner of a garden.

    (4) The owners of the land adjacent to the flats, who are under
    the present laws often subjected to loss or annoyance, or even
    positive discomfort, by inability to safeguard their proper
    rights to a certain degree of freedom from intruders and from
    damage to bathing or boating facilities, which constitute a
    definite portion of the value of shore property.

    All of these classes would be directly benefited by just laws,
    which would encourage and safeguard all well-advised projects
    for artificial cultivation of the tidal flats, and would deal
    justly and intelligently with the various coincident and
    conflicting rights of the fishermen, owners of shore property,
    bathers and other seekers of pleasure, recreation or profit,
    boatmen, and all others who hold public and private rights and

    That any one class should claim exclusive "natural valid
    rights," over any other class, to the shellfish products of the
    shores, which the law states expressly are the property of "the
    people," is as absurd as to claim that any class had exclusive
    natural rights to wild strawberries, raspberries, cranberries
    or other wild fruits, and that therefore the land upon which
    these grew could not be used for the purpose of increasing the
    yield of these fruits. This becomes the more absurd from the
    fact that the wild fruits pass to the owner of the title of the
    land, while the shellfish are specifically exempted, and remain
    the property of the public.

    The class most benefited by improved laws would be the
    fishermen, who would profit by better wages through the
    increased quantity of shellfish they could dig per hour, by
    a better market and by better prices, for the reason that
    the control of the output would secure regularity of supply.
    Moreover, when the market was unfavorable the shellfish could
    be kept in the beds with a reasonable certainty of finding
    them there when wanted, and with the added advantage of an
    increased volume by growth during the interval, together with
    the avoidance of cold-storage charges. Thus the diggers could
    be certain of securing a supply at almost any stage of the tide
    and in all but the most inclement weather, through a knowledge
    of "where to dig;" moreover, there would be a complete
    elimination of the reasoning which is now so prolific of ill
    feelings and so wasteful of the shellfish, viz., the incentive
    of "getting there ahead of the other fellow."

_B._ All the shellfish laws should be revised, to secure a unity and
clearness which should render graft, unfairness and avoidable economic
loss impossible, and be replaced with a code of fair, intelligent and
forceful laws, which would not only permit the advancement of the
shellfish industry through the individual efforts of the progressive
shellfishermen, but also protect the rights of the general public.

_C._ The majority of the shellfish laws of the State are enacted by
the individual towns. In 1880 the State first officially granted
to each town the exclusive right to control and regulate its own
shellfisheries, as provided under section 68 of chapter 91 of the
Public Statutes. This was slightly modified by the Acts of 1889 and
1892 to read as follows (now section 85 of chapter 91 of the Revised

    SECTION 85. The mayor and aldermen of cities and the selectmen
    of towns, if so instructed by their cities and towns, may,
    except as provided in the two preceding sections, control,
    regulate or prohibit the taking of eels, clams, quahaugs and
    scallops within the same; and may grant permits prescribing the
    times and methods of taking eels and such shellfish within such
    cities and towns and make such other regulations in regard to
    said fisheries as they may deem expedient. But an inhabitant of
    the commonwealth, without such permit, may take eels and the
    shellfish above-named for his own family use from the waters
    of his own or any other city or town, and may take from the
    waters of his own city or town any of such shellfish for bait,
    not exceeding three bushels, including shells, in any one day,
    subject to the general rules of the mayor and aldermen and
    selectmen, respectively, as to the times and methods of taking
    such fish. The provisions of this section shall not authorize
    the taking of fish in violation of the provisions of sections
    forty-four and forty-five. Whoever takes any eels or any of
    said shellfish without such permit, and in violation of the
    provisions of this section, shall forfeit not less than three
    nor more than fifty dollars.

Responsibility has thus been transferred from the State to the towns,
and they alone, through their incompetence and neglect, are to blame
for the decline of the shellfisheries. The town laws are miniature
copies of the worst features of the State laws. While a few towns have
succeeded in enacting fairly good laws, the majority have either passed
no shellfish regulations at all, or made matters worse by unintelligent
and harmful laws. It is time that a unified system of competent by-laws
were enacted and enforced in every town.

The ill-advised features which characterize the present town laws are
numerous, and are best considered under the following headings:--

(1) _Unintelligent Laws._--One of the worst features of our town
shellfish laws is their extreme unfitness. Numerous laws which are
absolutely useless for the regulation and improvement of these
industries have been made by towns, through men who knew nothing
about the shellfisheries. These laws were made without any regard
for the practical or biological conditions underlying the shellfish
industry. It is to be expected that laws from such a source would
often be ill-advised and unintelligent, but under the present system
it cannot be avoided. Until sufficient knowledge of the habits and
growth of shellfish is acquired by the authorities of State and town,
Massachusetts can never expect to have intelligent and profitable
shellfish laws. While the majority of these unintelligent laws do no
harm, there are some that work hardship to the fishermen and are an
injury to the shellfisheries.

(2) _Unfairness; Town Politics._--Town politics offers many chances
for unscrupulous discrimination in the shellfish laws. Here we find
one class of fishermen benefiting by legislation at the expense of the
other, as in the case of the quahaugers _v._ oystermen. In one town
the oystermen will have the upper hand; in another, the quahaugers. In
every case there is unfair discrimination, and a resultant financial
loss to both parties. The waters of Massachusetts are large enough for
both industries, and every man should have a "square deal," which is
frequently lacking under the present régime.

Besides party discrimination, there is discrimination against
certain individuals, as illustrated in giving oyster grants. Town
politics plays a distressing part here. Favoritism is repeatedly
shown, and unfairness results. All this shows the unpopularity and
impracticability of such regulations and the method of making them.

(3) _Present Chaotic State._--The present town laws are in a chaotic
condition, which it is almost impossible to simplify. No one knows the
laws, there is merely a vague impression that such have existed. Even
the selectmen themselves, often new to the office and unacquainted with
the shellfisheries, know little about the accumulated shellfish laws
of the past years, and find it impossible to comprehend them. The only
remedy is to wipe out all the old and replace them with unified new

(4) _Unsystematic Laws._--The present laws are unsystematized.
Each town has its own methods, good and bad, and the result is a
heterogeneous mixture. Often there are two or three laws where one
would definitely serve. To do absolute justice there should be a
definite system, with laws elastic enough to satisfy the needs of all.

(5) _Nonenforcement._--The worst feature of allowing town control of
the shellfisheries is the nonenforcement of the laws already passed.
We find in many towns that good by-laws have been made, but from
inattention and lack of money these have never been enforced and have
become practically nonexistent. The 1½-inch quahaug law of several
towns is an instance of this. In but one town in the State, Edgartown,
is any effort made to enforce this excellent town by-law, although
several of the other towns have passed the same. The proper enforcement
of laws is as important as the making, as a law might as well not be
made if not properly enforced. The only way that this can be remedied
is either to take the control completely out of the hands of the town,
or else have a supervisory body which would force the town to look
after violators.

Besides the town by-laws there are other evils which result from the
present system of town control.

II. _Lack of Protection in Oyster Industry._--In no case is the
management by towns more inefficient and confusing than in the case of
the oyster industry. As this subject will be taken up in the oyster
report which follows, it is only necessary here to state that there
is great need of a proper survey of grants, fair laws, systematic
methods, etc. Protection is necessary for the success of any industry,
and is especially needed for the oyster industry. The oyster industry
of Massachusetts will never become important until adequate protection
is guaranteed to the planters. Under the present system, uncertainty
rather than protection is the result.

III. _Town Jealousy._--The evil of town jealousy, whereby one town
forbids its shellfisheries to the inhabitant of neighboring towns, is
to-day an important factor. It is fair that a town which improves its
own shellfisheries should not be interfered with by a town which has
allowed its shellfisheries to decline. While this is true perhaps of
the clam, quahaug and oyster, it does not hold true of the scallop. The
result of this close-fisted policy has resulted in the past in a great
loss in the scallop industry. The town law in regard to scallops is all
wrong. The scallop fisheries should be open to all the State, and no
one town should "hog the fishing," and leave thousands of bushels to
die from their dog-in-the-manger attitude.

IV. _Sectional Jealousy._--Another evil, which in the past has been
prominent, but is becoming less and less as the years go by, is the
jealousy of the north shore _v._ the south shore, Cape Cod _v._ Cape
Ann. In the past this has been a stumbling block against any advance,
as any plan initiated on the south shore would be opposed from sheer
prejudice by the north shore representatives, and _vice versa_. The
cry of "entering wedge" has been raised again and again whenever any
bill was introduced for the good of the shellfisheries by either party.
Merely for political reasons good legislation has been defeated.
However, the last few years have shown a decided change. The jealous
feeling has in a large measure subsided; the shellfisheries need
intelligent consideration, and all parties realize that united effort
is necessary to insure the future of these industries.

V. _Quahaugers_ v. _Oystermen_.--On the south shore the worst evil
which at present exists is the interclass rivalry between the
quahaugers and oystermen. This has caused much harm to both parties,
through expensive lawsuits, economic loss, uncertainty of a livelihood,
as well as retarding the proper development of both industries.

VI. _Waste of Competition._--At the present day the utilization of
waste products in all industries is becoming more and more important.
In this age material which was considered useless by our forefathers is
made to play its part in the economic world. Through science industrial
waste of competition is being gradually reduced to a minimum, although
in any business which deals with perishable commodities, such as fish,
fruit, etc., there is bound to be a certain amount of loss.

Under the present system the shellfisheries suffer from the effects of
waste resulting from competition. Both the fisherman and the consumer
feel the effects of this, in different ways,--the fisherman through
poor market returns, the consumer through poor service. As long as the
shellfisheries are free to all, there is bound to be that scramble
to get ahead of "the other fellow," which not only results in the
destructive waste of the actual catch, but also causes a "glutted"
market, which gives a low return to the fisherman. Thousands of dollars
are thus lost each year by the fishermen, who are forced to keep
shipping their shellfish, often to perish in the market, merely because
the present system invites ruthless competition. The fishermen in this
respect alone should be the first to desire a new system, which would
give to each a shellfish farm and the privilege of selecting his market.

VII. At the present moment there are two evils which demand attention,
and which can be lessened by the passage of two simple laws:--

(1) During the past three years many thousands of bushels of quahaugs
under 1½ inches have been shipped out of the State, merely passing into
the hands of New York oystermen, who replanted, reaping in one year a
harvest of at least five bushels to every one "bedded." Through the
inactivity of town control, the incentive to get ahead of the other
fellow and the ignorance that they are wasting their own substance have
caused many quahaugers in the past to do this at many places.

The 1½-inch quahaug law has been for years a law for many towns
in the State. It has been practically a dead letter in all but
Edgartown, where it is enforced thoroughly. There should be a State law
restricting the size of the quahaugs taken.

(2) The enforcement of a 1½-inch clam law, especially in the towns of
Fall River and Swansea, where the digging has reduced the clams to a
small size, likewise deserves immediate attention.

All the present evils have each contributed their share toward the
ruin of the shellfisheries, and can be best summed up under one head,
_i.e._, the abuse of nature. All the above evils have either directly
or indirectly worked towards this end. This "abuse of nature" has
resulted in several ways: (1) indiscriminate fishing, restricted by no
laws, augmented by unwise laws; (2) overfishing in certain localities
until the supply is exhausted, as, among other instances, with the
Essex clam flats and the natural oyster beds of the Weweantit River;
(3) exploiting and wasting the natural resources, so that nature cannot
repair the inroads. Nature cannot cope with despoiling man,--man must
assist nature.

In the past there has been much feeling, especially among the clammers
of the north shore, against the Fish and Game Commission. It therefore
is necessary to correct a mistaken impression, which has arisen among
the clammers, that "the State is going to take the clam flats away from
us." This idea is on the face of it absurd. The Massachusetts Fish
and Game Commission is seeking only to have this question solved in
such a manner as to yield the most satisfactory results for the public
good. At the present time it would be highly undesirable to take the
complete control of the shellfisheries from any town, as long as that
town shows itself capable of regulating them wisely. At the present day
but few towns show any signs of this. What is necessary and desirable
is to have an intelligent supervisory body, with power to compel each
town to take proper care of its shellfisheries. It is advisable that
there be a central power, co-operating with the town control in all
matters pertaining to the shellfisheries, whether it be regulations or
the restocking of barren areas. A board of arbitration, a committee
of appeal for any grievance under the town control, and a commission
that would act for the interests of the whole State, are what is
most desirable at the present time. Such an arrangement would not be
changing radically the present system of town control, but it would
free it from its existing evils, place it on a firm and just basis, and
give the shellfisheries a chance for improvement.


The fisherman of to-day, though nominally his own master, is in reality
subject to the demands of the market. To gain a living he is forced to
work in all kinds of weather, at cold, disagreeable work. Under the
present system he is oppressed by useless special town laws, which
merely increase his daily labors without benefiting the fishery in the
least. A few good laws only are necessary for the shellfisheries. It
is time that the fisherman, one of the great factors in the commercial
supremacy of Massachusetts, should be freed from all unnecessary
burdens through a new system of satisfactory laws.


In spite of all the existing evils of the town shellfisheries,
the outlook is far from hopeless. To-day the shellfisheries of
Massachusetts, owing to great natural resources, are as good or better
than those of any other coast States, and only await development
under proper methods to ensure a bright future. The Commissioners on
Fisheries and Game can only point the way of reform; the result lies
in the hands of the intelligent voters of this Commonwealth, whose
action decides the future success or failure of the shellfisheries. It
should be the object of every thinking voter, whether he be fisherman
or consumer, to see that the right action be taken in regard to the

As shown in the preceding pages of this report, the attempted remedy
has been based upon the false economic basis of attempting to check the
demand by prohibiting digging for certain periods (closed seasons),
limiting the amount to be legally dug by any one person, etc. It would
be quite as logical for a town or city to prohibit by by-laws the use
or digging of potatoes or any other food crop, when the supply was
short, rather than to attempt to _increase_ the supply. An increasing
demand cannot be checked by any such ill-advised measures, but can be
met only by a corresponding increase in the natural production. The
only remedy that can be applied successfully is shellfish culture,
which means the utilizing of thousands of acres of barren shore area
for the planting of farms which will furnish harvests of shellfish. In
this way the latent potentialities of nature, which it is criminal to
neglect, will be utilized for the good of the entire population of the
State. /#

We learn from the dictionaries that a farm is defined to be a tract
of land under one control, devoted to agriculture, etc.; and that
agriculture is the cultivation of the soil for food products or other
useful or valuable growths. All this is very familiar knowledge, as
applied to the dry land; but that there may fairly be brought within
these definitions the operations of an industry in which lands covered
by the salt waters of our bays and harbors are tilled, cultivated,
raked, harrowed and planted with seedling bivalves, and harvests of a
valuable product garnered, constituting a superb food for the masses,
is less familiar, and to many may seem quite astonishing. It is within
a comparatively few years that this unique style of farming has had its
growth and development, until now many thousands of acres of land under
water have been carefully surveyed, and the boundaries marked by buoys
and stakes.[6]

To bring the shellfisheries of Massachusetts to their maximum
production will take years, but within five years the production can
be nearly doubled, if work in the right direction is begun at once.
Patience will be required to overcome the obstacles which must be met,
and the change must necessarily be gradual.

Every year the difficulties of reform increase. Owing to a steadily
increasing demand, the natural supply is becoming smaller, and
consequently the difficulty of increasing it becomes so much the
harder. Soon the line of possibility will be crossed, and the
shellfisheries will become an industry of the past. A few shellfish
will always remain, but as an important industry, the shellfisheries,
if no remedy is applied, in twenty-five years will be commercially
extinct. While there is still time, let action be taken.

The utilization of the barren shellfish areas, wise laws, good
regulations and systematic methods of culture are necessary, in
order to obtain the maximum production from these sea farms. The sea
farm possesses one advantage over the ordinary farm,--the soil never
becomes exhausted, as the shellfish derive their sustenance from the
water, utilizing indirectly the waste nitrates of the land. To do this
it is necessary that shellfish culture be at once begun, either by
individuals or by towns.

Three methods of shellfish culture offer ways of approach towards the
utilization of the waste areas:--

(1) To leave the matter wholly in the hands of the town. This is the
poorest way, as has been shown in the past. Unless the town officials
were well informed about the shellfisheries, it would be an absurd
farce to entrust the future of this important industry wholly in their

(2) Place all power with the State, instead of with the town. Have
a unified and simplified system, whereby shellfish farms and grants
can be leased by the individuals. This plan, much better than the
first, and possibly the final solution, is, however, not practical of
application to the existing conditions. Later, when these conditions
are removed, it may prove the best solution of the problem.

(3) The present system of town control to remain. The appointment of
the Fish and Game Commission, or a similar commission, to have complete
advisory power over the towns, and power to force each town to properly
protect its shellfish. A State law would be passed, legalizing grants
to individuals and dividing the flats into two equal parts,--public
and private. The leasing of grants would be in the hands of the town
authorities, but subject to appeal for any grievance to the Fish and
Game Commission.

In the chapter relating to each shellfish will be given the practical
methods of cultivation for reclaiming the waste areas. These methods
have been proved by the experimental work of this commission,
the results of which may be published in a subsequent scientific
report upon the shellfish. The commission has definitely shown that
shellfish culture in Massachusetts is a possibility, and, moreover, a
remunerative possibility.


(1) Under the proposed system of practical shellfish culture, many
classes of people would be benefited. The person who would be primarily
benefited is the fisherman. In the following ways the condition of
the industrious fisherman would be bettered: (_a_) his work would be
steady, not uncertain; (_b_) he would know his exact annual income, and
could govern his living expenses accordingly; (_c_) he would receive
more money, with less hardship; (_d_) he would ensure steady market
returns, which under the present system are very uncertain; (e) he
would be his own master, and not forced to work for poor pay, under the
stress of wasteful competition.

(2) The shellfisheries are not for any particular class, but should
benefit all, and any improvement in the industry affects all people. A
second class would also be benefited by an increase in the shellfish
industries. This class can be divided into two groups: (_a_) those
directly influenced; (_b_) those indirectly. In the first group are
the middlemen,--dealers. By an increased trade, more firms enter the
business, more men are hired, etc. Comprising the second group are
teamsters, coopers, shop owners, sailors, transportation lines,--an
indefinite list, which would be indirectly benefited by an increase in
the shellfish industry.

(3) Thirdly, the consumer would receive the benefit of improved quality
of goods, reasonable prices, etc. Through increased transportation
facilities the inland consumer would have the pleasure of partaking of
sea food, and what were once the luxuries of the rich could be had by


Capital is needed for the best success of any business. In a broad
sense, the tools, implements, etc., of the shellfisherman are capital.
In the future, if the shellfisheries are to become a great industry,
money as working capital is indispensable. Blind objection to the
employment of capital on the part of the fishermen works against the
best interests of the shellfisheries.


For years the fishermen have feared that the shellfisheries would
fall into the hands of a few companies or trusts, and the individual
fisherman thereby lose his independence. As the present age tends
toward the formation of monopolies in all business, the fears of the
fishermen are not altogether groundless in this respect; nevertheless,
while there are certain chances of monopoly in the shellfisheries,
these chances are very small. In the first place, a monopoly of a raw
edible product, such as shellfish, is hardly possible. Never can it
be possible for any one company to control all or the majority of a
shellfish supply, which possesses unlimited possibilities of expansion.

Secondly, there are but two ways in which a monopoly of the
shellfisheries can be obtained: one is the control of the market by
buying up all the shellfish,--a thing far easier under the present
conditions; the other, by buying through contract the rights of the
individual planters. The success of such an enterprise would depend
wholly upon the personnel of the shellfishermen, and such a result
could never become possible if each shellfisherman would refuse to sell
his rights.


This survey has shown (1) that the shellfisheries have declined (an
established fact); (2) that the causes of the decline are overfishing
and unwise laws; (3) that the remedy is, not to check the demand,
as has been previously attempted, but to increase the production
by the utilization of vast areas of barren flats, which have been
experimentally proved capable of yielding a great harvest; (4) that the
present chaotic laws render this impossible; (5) that there is a need
of reform, or else the shellfisheries will soon disappear; (6) that the
first step is the removal of these laws to permit the application of
proper cultural methods.


[1] Gulf Biologic Station, Cameron, La., Bulletin No. 3, 1905.

[2] Returns of Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Game.

[3] United States Fish Commission Pamphlet, 1898.

[4] New York Shellfish Report, p. 7.

[5] Report on the Shellfisheries, pp. 33-35.

[6] Forest, Fish and Game Commission Bulletin, Shellfish Culture in New
York, 1905. By B. Frank Wood.

QUAHAUG (_Venus mercenaria_).

Inhabiting common waters with the scallop, the northern range of the
quahaug (the hard-shell clam or "little neck") in Massachusetts is
Plymouth. Commercially it is found both on the north and south side
of Cape Cod and in Buzzards Bay, the principal fisheries being at
Wellfleet, Orleans, Edgartown, Nantucket and in Buzzards Bay.

The quahaug, while essentially a southern and warm-water form, being
found in the United States along the Atlantic seacoast as far south
as the Gulf of Mexico, practically reaches its northern range in
Massachusetts. In a few sheltered bays on the Maine coast quahaugs are
sometimes found, but in small quantities. However, at Prince Edward
Island there is said to be an abundance.

Along the coast of Massachusetts north of Boston very few quahaugs
are found, although they were formerly taken near Salem. The black
quahaug (_Cyprina islandica_), so called from its dark epidermis, is
often caught in the trawls, but this is a deep-sea form, and by no
means a true quahaug. In Essex and Ipswich rivers and on Plum Island
experimental beds have shown that quahaugs grow in these waters, but
no spawn has yet been noticed, though ripe eggs were developed in the
planted quahaugs. Owing to the swift currents, which carry the spawn
perhaps for miles, it is impossible to determine accurately whether any
set has taken place.

During the past three years, as outlined by chapter 78, Resolves
of 1905, the Fish and Game Commission has conducted a series of
experiments upon the quahaug, designated to furnish sufficient data
concerning the growth of this mollusk under a variety of conditions, to
demonstrate the possibilities and value of practical quahaug farming.
The results of these investigations upon the life, habits and culture
of the quahaug are to be published in a later scientific report. It is
necessary here to say that all statements in this report concerning
the growth and culture of quahaugs have been proved by experiments,
the results of which are on file at the office of the department of
fisheries and game.

It is the object of this report to present both to the fishermen and
consumers (1) actual statistical figures of the industry of the State
for 1907; (2) a biological survey of the quahauging areas, outlined
by maps and descriptions; (3) a description of the industry. This
survey should furnish a basis for determining any decline or advance
in the quahaug industry of the future, as well as affording comparison
with the United States Fish Commission survey of 1879, made by Ernest

Massachusetts, situated at the northern limit of the quahaug industry
of the United States, is handicapped in comparison with other States,
as only the southern waters of the State are given to this industry.
Nevertheless, though possessing only a partial industry, Massachusetts
ranks the fourth State in quahaug production, according to the 1906
report of the United States Fish Commission.

The same natural conditions which suit so well the shallow-water
scallop are also adapted to the growth of the quahaug. In nearly
all the sheltered bays, inlets and rivers of the southern coast
of Massachusetts the quahaug can be found in varying abundance.
Technically, there is more territory which admits the possibility of
quahaug growth than of any other shellfish. The bathymetric range of
the quahaug is extensive, as the quahaug is raked in all depths of
water up to 50 feet. In spite of the vast territory nature has provided
for the quahaug in the waters of Massachusetts, the commercial fishery
is found only in small parts of this large area. Scattered quahaugs
are found over the rest of the area, but in paying quantities only in
limited places.

The possibilities of developing this great natural tract of quahaug
ground are especially alluring,--far more so than any of the other
shellfisheries. The quahaug has a greater area, greater possible
expansion and a more profitable market. Nature has equipped southern
Massachusetts with numerous bays with remarkable facilities for the
production of quahaugs; it only remains for man to make the most of

_Method of Work._--The method of work used in preparing this portion of
the report varied but little from that relating to the other shellfish,
though several features made it harder to obtain accurate information.
There is a more general obscurity about the history of the quahaug than
about any of the other shellfish, even though the quahaug industry is
commercially the youngest of all. This is due, perhaps, to the gradual
rise of the industry through the discovery of new territory. The only
historical record obtainable is E. Ingersoll's report on the quahaug,
in 1879, in which he deals briefly with the industry in Massachusetts.
Town records help but little in determining the history of the
industry, as only of late years have the towns required the taking of

In making the biological survey, the difficulty arises of defining what
constitutes quahaug ground, since scattering quahaugs are found over
vast territories, but only limited areas are commercially productive.
The estimates of the quahaugers, both historically and in regard to
production and areas, are often erroneous and vary greatly. By the use
of market reports, express shipments, estimates of dealers, estimates
of several reliable quahaugers, and all methods at our command, the
facts of the industry were compiled and errors eliminated as far as
possible. The home consumption is hard to determine, and is merely an
estimate. The area of the quahaug territory was plotted on the map,
and calculations made from the plots. Whenever personal inspection was
not possible, as in Falmouth, the estimates of several quahaugers were


1. _Is the Quahaug Fishery declining?_--The decline of the quahaug
fishery is well recognized. Even the production figures, which,
when stimulated by high prices, usually give a deceptive appearance
of prosperity to a declining industry, since more men enter the
fishery, show a decline in the last few years. When such a point is
reached,--when, in spite of higher prices and more men, the annual
production becomes less and less,--not many years will pass before the
industry will collapse completely.

Increased prices show either an increase in demand or a falling off of
the supply. Both are perhaps true of the quahaug industry. The demand,
especially for "little necks," has been steadily on the increase, and a
broad inland market is gradually opening, since the quahaug is capable
of long transportation without perishing. So the increased prices are
a sign of the diminution of the supply, as well as of an increased
demand, the indeterminable factor being what ratio the one bears to the

The only way to determine accurately the decline in the natural supply
is to compare the amount the average quahauger could dig ten or twenty
years ago with the amount dug to-day. Even this comparison is unfair,
as the better rakes, improved methods, etc., of the present time tend
to increase the daily yield of the quahauger.

This decline can best be shown by taking special localities:--

(1) _Buzzards Bay._--The quahaug industry in Buzzards Bay has shown
a great decline in the past ten to twenty years, and the industry is
now at a low ebb, especially in the towns of Marion and Mattapoisett.
Wareham, Bourne and Fairhaven still manage to ship about 27,000 bushels
annually, employing over 200 men; but this is hardly up to their former
standard. To-day at Wareham the daily catch per man is one-fifth of
what it was twenty years ago; in 1887 a man could dig 5 bushels to a
catch of 1 bushel now. Buzzards Bay perhaps has shown the greatest
quahaug decline.

(2) _South Side of Cape Cod._--While not so marked a decline has taken
place as in Buzzards Bay, every quahauger agrees that the industry is
gradually failing. In Bass River, at Hyannis, and in Chatham, there
is a marked decrease, while at Cotuit and Osterville the industry has
remained stationary.

(3) _North Side of Cape Cod._--The best quahaug fishery of
Massachusetts, except at Edgartown, is found on the north side of Cape
Cod, in the towns of Wellfleet, Eastham and Orleans. These three towns
give an annual yield of 75,000 bushels. Only about fifteen years old
commercially, the industry has passed its prime and is on the decline.
This decline is shown both by production figures and by the gradual
moving to deeper water. As the quahaugs were thinned out in shallow
water, the fishermen moved farther and farther out, using long rakes,
until 60-foot rakes are now used at a depth of 50 feet. Probably the
60-foot limit will never be exceeded, unless a method of dredging is
devised; and it will be only a question of years when the industry will
become extinct.

(4) _Nantucket._--The industry here has generally declined, though in
the last few years there has been a slight increase in production.

(5) _Edgartown._--The quahaug industry at Edgartown has declined
little, if any, while the fishery has been carried on for many years.
The natural resources have not been seriously impaired, owing to the
efficient town management; and Edgartown can be congratulated on being
the only town in the State that can boast of a protected industry.

Although the quahaug industry has not openly shown the tendency to
decline that the soft clam has manifested in southern Massachusetts,
the danger is nevertheless very great, and the disaster would be far
worse. The fishermen of Cape Cod realize that the clam industry has
practically gone; but they are blind to the fact that a far more
important one--the quahaug industry--is in as grave danger, and only
when it is too late will they wake to a realization of the situation.

The clam industry on Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay will never assume the
importance it possesses on the north shore, owing to lack of extensive
flats. Rather the quahaug industry is the main shellfish industry of
the south shore, as it is more valuable, more important, and capable of
vast expansion. The development of the quahaug industry should bring
many hundred thousand dollars to Cape Cod.

II. _Causes of the Decline._--The direct cause is overfishing. The
quahaug is hardy, little harmed by climatic changes, and has but few
natural enemies. Man alone has caused the decline of the natural
supply. Not satisfied with taking the mediums and large quahaugs,
but spurred on by the high prices offered for the "little neck,"
the quahaug fisherman has cleaned up everything he can get, and the
natural supply has suffered greatly. If the market demands the capture
of the "little neck," it is necessary to leave the large quahaugs as
"spawners." At the present time, by the capture of both the industry is
being ruined.

_The Remedy._--_Quahaug Farming._

There is only _one way_ in which the present decline can be checked,
and that is, to increase the natural supply by cultural methods to meet
the demands of the market. The only way to accomplish this increase
is to plant and raise quahaugs,--in fact, have a system of _quahaug
farming_ for the whole south shore of Massachusetts. In considering
quahaug farming, many questions naturally arise: (1) Is quahaug farming
an established fact, or a mere theory? (2) Possibilities of quahaug
farming. (3) What is the growth of the quahaug, and how long does it
take to raise a crop? (4) What is the value of a quahaug farm? (5) What
benefits would the quahaug industry receive from such a system?

(1) _Quahaug Farming an Established Fact,--not a Theory._--It is
not the object of this report to go into a scientific treatise upon
experiments in quahaug culture. For the past three years the Commission
on Fisheries and Game has been conducting experiments upon the growth
and culture of quahaugs, the results of which will be published in a
subsequent report. These experiments have shown that quahaug farming is
no theory, but an established fact, and that, if taken up, it will make
the quahaug fishery the most important shellfish industry of the State.
These experiments, consisting of small beds one one-thousandth of an
acre in area, were located at different places along the coast. Various
conditions in regard to food, current, tide, soil, etc., were tested.
The results from nearly every bed were excellent, and showed the ease
of culture and the great profit which would result if larger areas were
thus worked.

The results obtained from the experiments of the commission alone are
sufficient to prove the practicability of quahaug farming, even if
there were no other proofs. As it is, there have been many tests made
by the oystermen, both outside and inside the State. Some years ago the
oystermen near New York realized the possibilities of raising quahaugs
on their oyster grants, and to-day Massachusetts ships many barrels of
"seed" quahaugs out of the State to these far-sighted business men,
who reap large returns by replanting these small "little necks." The
Massachusetts oystermen have not been slow to realize the large returns
afforded by quahaug culture, and some have planted many bushels of the
"seed," thus turning their grants into partial quahaug farms. These
men have proved that this style of farming is practical, and that as a
money-making proposition the quahaug is far ahead of the oyster.

As affairs exist to-day in Massachusetts, a few men alone have the
privilege of raising quahaugs, while the rest stand idle. Theoretically
and legally, no one has the right to plant and raise quahaugs in the
State; but practically and secretly it is done with great success.
Who can blame the oysterman for raising quahaugs with his oysters, in
view of the fast-declining quahaug industry? Rather by so doing he is
helping perpetuate the natural supply. The objection to this present
system of secret quahaug farming is its unfairness. A few men are
enjoying the privileges that many others should likewise enjoy. There
is plenty of room, and quahaug farming might as well be carried on
openly, to the benefit of all.

While the oystermen have made a move toward general quahaug farming,
and have shown the great possibilities that this system possesses, the
quahaugers have also exhibited a tendency in a similar direction. The
originators of the town law in Eastham, Orleans and Wellfleet, which
provides for the leasing of 5,625 square feet of flat for bedding the
catch, and thus makes possible the advantage of a favorable market,
probably did not imagine that this was the first great step on the part
of the quahaugers towards shellfish farming. The success of this scheme
has here opened the eyes of the intelligent quahaugers to the even
better possibilities of quahaug culture, and any well-devised scheme of
shellfish farming will be favorably received.

The main impulse that makes people turn to quahaug culture is the
steady decline of the industry, especially during the last few years.
In the previous pages of this report there have been shown: (1) the
actuality of the decline; (2) the causes of this decline. The proof
of the decline is so generally apparent that it has created a popular
demand for a fair system of quahaug farming, to check the diminution of
the present supply.

(2) _Possibilities of Quahaug Farming._--The quahaug has a wide range;
it is found in all depths of water, from high tide line to sixty feet,
and in various kinds of mud and sand bottom. This natural adaptability
gives the quahaug a wider area than any other shellfish, as it will
live in nearly any bottom, although the rate of growth depends
essentially upon its location in respect to current. This permits the
utilization of vast areas which to-day are unproductive, and which
can all be made into profitable quahaug farms. Quahaugs will grow on
thousands of acres of flats, such as the Common Flats of Chatham, if
they are planted. There are indefinite possibilities of expansion in
quahaug farming through the reclamation of this unproductive sea bottom.

(3) _Rate of Growth of Quahaug._--The rate of growth of the quahaug
varies greatly in regard to its location in respect to the current.
The quahaugs which have the better current or circulation of water
show the faster growth. The fastest growth recorded by the experiments
of the Department on Fisheries and Game was a gain of 1 inch a year;
_i.e._, 1½-inch quahaugs attained in one year a length of 2½ inches.
The average growth is between ½ and ¾ inch a year, or a yield of 3 to 5
bushels for every bushel planted, or the return in one year of $4 for
every $1 invested. In the more favorable localities there would be the
enormous gain of $8 for every dollar invested. All this can be done in
six months, as the quahaug grows only during the six summer months. The
above figures are taken from experiments which have been conducted on
Cape Cod, in Buzzards Bay and at Nantucket.

(4) _Value of a Quahaug Farm._--An acre of "little-neck" quahaugs has a
high market value. A conservative estimate of 10 per square foot gives
the yield in one year of 2½-inch quahaugs as 600 bushels per acre; This
means that 120 bushels of 1¾-inch quahaugs were planted to the acre.
The price paid for the same would be $600, at the high price of $5 per
bushel. The price received for the same, at $3 per bushel, would bring
$1,800, or a gain of $3 for every $1 invested. This is a conservative
estimate on all sides. Quahaugs could be planted two or three times
as thick, seed might be purchased for less money, more money might be
received for private shipments, and faster growth can be obtained. The
only labor necessary is gathering the quahaugs for market. The quahaug
farm requires no such care as the agricultural farm, and offers far
more profit.

(5) _Advantage of Quahaug Culture._--The quahaug is the most
remunerative of any of our shellfish. It possesses several advantages
over the oyster: (1) it is hardier,--less influenced by climatic
conditions; (2) it has fewer enemies, as it lies protected under the
sand; (3) it possesses a market the whole year; (4) there is more money
for the planter in raising "little necks" than in raising oysters. If
oyster culture has succeeded in Massachusetts, there is no question
that, given a proper chance, quahaug culture can be put on a firm
basis, and made the leading shellfish industry of Massachusetts. The
value of the present quahaug industry lies chiefly in the production of
"little necks." Under a cultural system of quahaug farms, this could be
made a specialty. Old quahaugs would be kept as "seeders," and "little
necks" alone raised for the market. The advantage of furnishing "little
necks" of uniform size would lead to increased prices; steady customers
would be obtained and certainty of production guaranteed. All the
advantages lie with quahaug farming, as opposed to the present method
of "free-for-all" digging.

The quahaug industry of the future, if put on a cultural basis, will
not only check the decline of a valuable industry, but will increase
the present production many fold. A far larger supply, work for more
men and better prices for the consumer will result.

(6) _Spat Collecting._--The main obstacle that stands in the way
of permanent quahaug culture is a lack of sufficient young "seed"
quahaugs. While several heavy sets have been recorded, the "seed"
quahaugs are never found in vast quantities, as are the young of the
soft clam (_Mya arenaria_). The set of quahaugs is usually scattering
and slight. A method of spat collecting, _i.e._, catching the spawn and
raising the small quahaugs, is alone necessary for the complete success
of quahaug culture. While nothing of practical importance has yet been
found, indications are favorable that some means will be devised in the
next few years, and that quantities of young quahaugs can be raised.
Experiments have already shown that as many as 75 can be caught per
square foot in box spat collectors; but a more practical method than
this must be found to make the business profitable.

_The Quahaug Industry._

_Methods of Capture._--Several methods of taking quahaugs are in vogue
in Massachusetts, some simple and primitive, others more advanced and
complex, but all modifications of simple raking or digging. These
methods have arisen with the development of the industry, and record
the historical changes in the quahaug fishery, as each new fishery or
separate locality demands some modification of the usual methods.

(1) "_Treading._"--The early settlers in Massachusetts quickly learned
from the Indians the primitive method of "treading" quahaugs, which
required no implements except the hands and feet. The "treader" catches
the quahaug by wading about in the water, feeling for them with his
toes in the soft mud, and then picking them up by hand. Nowhere in
Massachusetts is it used as a method of commercial fishery.

(2) _Tidal Flat Fishery._--Often quahaugs are found on the exposed
tidal flats, where they can sometimes be taken by hand, but more
often with ordinary clam hoes or short rakes. Owing to the scarcity
of quahaugs between the tide lines, this method does not pay for
market fishing, and is only resorted to by people who dig for home

(3) _Tonging._--In most parts of Buzzards Bay and in a few places
on Cape Cod quahaugs are taken with _oyster tongs_. This method is
applicable only in water less than 12 feet deep, as the longest tongs
measure but 16 feet. Four sizes of tongs are used, 8, 10, 12 and 16
feet in length. Tonging is carried on in the small coves and inlets,
where there is little if any rough water. A muddy bottom is usually
preferable, as a firm, hard soil increases the labor of manipulating
the tongs, which are used in the same manner as in tonging oysters.

(4) _Raking._--The most universal method of taking quahaugs is with
rakes. This method is used in every quahaug locality in Massachusetts,
each town having its special kind of rake. Four main types of rakes can
be recognized:--

(_a_) _The Digger._--In some localities, chiefly in Buzzards Bay,
the ordinary potato digger or rake, having four or five long, thin
prongs, is used. Usually it has a back of wire netting, which holds the
quahaugs when caught by the prongs. As the digger has a short handle
of 5 feet, it can be used only in shallow water, where the quahauger,
wading in the water, turns out the quahaugs with this narrow rake. This
method yields but a scanty return, and is more often used for home
consumption than for market.

(_b_) _The Garden Rake._--The ordinary garden rake, equipped with a
basket back of wire netting, is in more general use in shallow water,
either by wading or from a boat, as it has the advantage of being wider
than the potato digger.

(_c_) _The Claw Rake._--This type of rake varies in size, width and
length of handle. It is used chiefly at Nantucket. The usual style has
a handle 6 feet long, while the iron part in the form of a claw or
talon is 10 inches wide, with prongs 1 inch apart. Heavier rakes with
longer handles are sometimes used for deep water, but for shallow water
the usual form is the short-claw rake.

(_d_) _The Basket Rake._-The greater part of the quahaug production is
taken from deep water, with the basket rake. These rakes have handles
running from 23 to 65 feet in length, according to the depth of water
over the beds. Where the water is of various depths, several detachable
handles of various lengths are used. At the end of these long handles
is a small cross-piece, similar to the cross-piece of a lawn mower;
this enables the quahauger to obtain a strong pull when raking. The
handles are made of strong wood, and are very thin and flexible, not
exceeding 1½ inches in diameter. The price of these handles varies
according to the length, but the average price is about $2. As the long
handles break very easily, great care must be taken in raking.

Three forms of the basket rake are used in Massachusetts. These
rakes vary greatly in form and size, and it is merely a question of
opinion which variety is the best, as all are made on the same general
principle,--a curved, basket-shaped body, the bottom edge of which is
set with thin steel teeth.

_The Wellfleet and Chatham Rake._--This rake is perhaps the most
generally used for all deep-water quahauging on Cape Cod, and finds
favor with all. It consists of an iron framework, forming a curved
bowl, the under edge of which is set with thin steel teeth varying
in length from 2 to 4 inches, though usually 2½-inch teeth are the
favorite. Formerly these teeth were made of iron, but owing to the
rapid wear it was found necessary to make them of steel. Over the bowl
of this rake, which is strengthened by side and cross pieces of iron,
is fitted a twine net, which, like the net of a scallop dredge, drags
behind the framework. An average rake has from 19 to 21 teeth, and
weighs from 15 to 20 pounds.

_Edgartown Basket Rake._--The basket rake used at Edgartown and
Nantucket is lighter and somewhat smaller than the Wellfleet rake. The
whole rake, except the teeth, is made of iron. No netting is required,
as thin iron wires 1/3 inch apart encircle lengthwise the whole basket,
preventing the escape of any marketable quahaug, and at the same time
allowing the mud to wash out. This rake has 16 steel teeth, 1½ inches
long, fitted at intervals of 1 inch in the bottom scraping bar, which
is 16 inches long; the depth of the basket is about 8 inches. Much
shorter poles, not exceeding 30 feet in length, are used with this
rake, and the whole rake is much lighter. The price of this rake is
$7.50, while the poles cost $1.50.

The third form of basket rake is a cross between the basket and claw
rakes. This rake is used both at Nantucket and on Cape Cod, but is not
so popular as the other types. The basket is formed by the curve of
the prongs, which are held together by two long cross-bars at the top
and bottom of the basket, while the ends are enclosed by short strips
of iron. This rake exemplifies the transition stage between the claw
and basket types, indicating that the basket form was derived from the
former. Handles 20 to 30 feet long are generally used with these rakes.

_Shallow v. Deep Water Quahauging._--Two kinds of quahauging are found
in Massachusetts,--the deep and the shallow water fisheries. This
arbitrary distinction also permits a division of localities in regard
to the principal methods of fishing. Although in all localities there
exists more or less shallow-water fishing, the main quahaug industry of
several towns is the deep-water fishery. In all the Buzzards Bay towns
except Fairhaven and New Bedford the shallow-water fishery prevails;
this is also true of the south side of Cape Cod. On the north side
of Cape Cod the opposite is true, as the quahauging at Wellfleet,
Eastham, Orleans and Brewster is practically all deep-water fishing. At
Edgartown and Nantucket, although there is considerable shallow-water
digging, the deep-water fishery is the more important.

The deep-water fishery is vastly more productive than the shallow-water
industry, furnishing annually 118,500 bushels, compared to 23,227
bushels, or more than 5 times as much. The deep-water fishery, _i.e._,
the basket-rake fishery, is the main quahaug fishery of the State, and
each year it is increasing, because of the opening of new beds. On the
other hand, the shallow-water grounds are rapidly becoming barren from

The deep-water quahauging is harder work, requires considerable capital
but has fewer working days. Naturally the earnings from this fishery
should surpass those of the shallow-water industry. The deep-water
quahauger averages from $5 to $8 for a working day, while the
shallow-water fisherman earns only from $2 to $3 per day.

_Deep-water Quahauging._--Both power and sail boats are used in
deep-water quahauging, though power is gradually replacing the old
method of sailing, because of its increased efficiency and saving of
time. When the quahaug grounds are reached, the boat is anchored at
both bow and stern, one continuous rope connecting both anchors, which
are from 500 to 600 feet apart, in such a way that the bow of the
boat is always headed against the tide. A sufficient amount of slack
is required for the proper handling of the boat, which can be moved
along this anchor "road" as on a cable, and a large territory raked.
The rake is lowered from the bow of the boat, the length of the handle
being regulated by the depth of the water, and the teeth worked into
the sandy or muddy bottom. The quahauger then takes firm hold of the
cross-piece at the end of the handle, and works the rake back to the
stern of the boat, where it is hauled in and the contents dumped on the
culling board or picked out of the net. In hauling in the net the rake
is turned so that the opening is on top, and the mud and sand is washed
out before it is taken on board. The long pole passes across the boat
and extends into the water on the opposite side when the rake is hauled
in. This process is repeated until the immediate locality becomes
unprofitable, when the boat is shifted along the cable.

The usual time for quahauging is from half ebb to half flood tide, thus
avoiding the extra labor of high-water raking. Deep-water raking is
especially hard labor, and six hours constitute a good day's work.

_Boats._--Nearly all kinds of boats are utilized in the quahaug
fishery, and are of all values, from the $10 second-hand skiff to
the 38-foot power seine boat, which costs $1,500. The shallow-water
industry requires but little invested capital. Dories and skiffs are
the principal boats, costing from $10 to $25. Occasionally a sail
or power boat may be used in this fishery. The deep-water industry
requires larger and stronger boats. These are either power or sail
boats, often auxiliary "cats," and their value runs anywhere from $150
to $1,500. The average price for the sail boats is $250, while the
power boats are assessed at $350. At Orleans several large power seine
boats, valued at about $1,500, are used in the quahaug fishery. These
seine boats are 30 to 38 feet over all, have low double cabins, and are
run by 8 to 12 horse-power gasolene engines. The ordinary power boats
have gasolene engines from 2 to 6 horse-power. In this way each method
of quahauging has its own boats, which are adapted for its needs.

_Dredging._--So far as known, dredging is never used in quahauging
in Massachusetts, although it is sometimes used on sea-clam beds. It
has been tried, but without success, chiefly because of the uneven
nature of the bottom. The invention of a suitable dredge is necessary,
and there can be little doubt that in the future, if this difficulty
is overcome, dredging will be used in the quahaug fishery. In 1879
Mr. Ernest Ingersoll reports in Rhode Island the use of a quahaug
dredge similar in structure to our rake. Evidently this form was never
especially successful, possibly because these dredges could not be
dragged by sail boats.

_Outfit of a Quahauger._--The implements and boats used in quahauging
have already been mentioned. The outfit of the average quahauger in
each fishery is here summarized:--

                        _Deep-water Quahauging._

  Boat,                                          $300
  2 rakes,                                         20
  3 poles,                                          6

                      _Shallow-water Quahauging._

  Boat,                                           $20
  Tongs or rakes,                                   3
  Baskets,                                          2

_Season._--The quahaug fishery is essentially a summer fishery, and
little if any is done during the winter. The season in Massachusetts
lasts for seven months, usually starting the last of March or the
first of April, and ending about the first of November. The opening of
the spring season varies several weeks, owing to the severity of the
weather; and the same is true of the closing of the season.

As a rule, the Buzzards Bay industry, where digging is done in the
shallow waters of protected bays and coves, using short rakes and
tongs, has a longer season than the quahaug industry of Cape Cod, where
the fishery is carried on in deep and open waters. With the former,
the cold work and hardship alone force the quahaugers to stop fishing,
a long time after storms and rough weather have brought the latter
industry to an end.

The actual working days of the deep-water quahauger number hardly over
100 per season, while those of the shallow-water fishermen easily
outnumber 150. The deep-water quahauger's daily earnings are two or
three times the daily wages of the shallow-water quahauger, but the
additional number of working days in part make up this difference.

The quahaug season can be divided arbitrarily into three parts: (1)
spring; (2) summer; (3) fall. The spring season lasts from April 1 to
June 15, the summer season from June 15 to September 15, and the fall
season from September 15 to November 1. These seasons are marked by an
increase in the number of quahaugers in the spring and fall. The men
who do summer boating quahaug in the spring before the summer people
arrive, and in the fall after the summer season is over. The opening
of the scallop season, in towns that are fortunate enough to possess
both industries, marks the closing of the quahaug season. These two
industries join so well, scalloping in the winter and quahauging in the
summer, that a shellfisherman has work practically all the year.

_The Principal Markets._--The principal markets for the sale of
Massachusetts quahaugs are Boston and New York. In 1879 the Boston
market, according to Mr. Ernest Ingersoll, sold comparatively few. At
the present time the Boston market disposes of many thousand bushels
annually, but nevertheless the greater part of the Massachusetts
quahaugs are shipped to New York. This, again, is due to the better
market prices offered by that city. Besides passing through these two
main channels, quahaugs are shipped direct from the coast dealers to
various parts of the country, especially the middle west. This last
method seems to be on the increase, and the future may see a large
portion of the quahaug trade carried on by direct inland shipments.

_Shipment._--Quahaugs are shipped either in second-hand sugar or flour
barrels or in bushel bags. The latter method is fast gaining popularity
with the quahaugers and dealers, owing to its cheapness, and is now
steadily used in some localities. When quahaugs are shipped in barrels,
holes are made in the bottom and sides of the barrel, to allow free
circulation of air and to let the water out, while burlap is used
instead of wooden heads.

"_Culls._"--Several culls are made for the market. These vary in number
in different localities and with different firms, but essentially are
modifications of the three "culls" made by the quahaugers: (1) "little
necks;" (2) "sharps;" (3) "blunts." The divisions made by the firm of
A. D. Davis & Co. of Wellfleet are as follows: (1) "little necks,"
small, 1½-2¼ inches; large, 2¼-3 inches; (2) medium "sharps," 3-3¾
inches; (3) large "sharps," 3¾ inches up; (4) small "blunts;" (5) large

_Price._--The prices received by the quahaugers are small, compared
with the retail prices. "Little necks" fetch from $2.50 to $4 per
bushel, sharps and small blunts from $1.10 to $2, and large blunts from
80 cents to $1.50, according to the season, fall and spring prices
necessarily being higher than in summer. The price depends wholly upon
the supply in the market, and varies greatly, although the "little
necks" are fairly constant, as the demand for these small quahaugs is
very great. To what excess the demand for "little necks" has reached
can best be illustrated by a comparison between the price of $3 paid to
the quahauger per bushel, and the actual price, $50, paid for the same
by the consumer in the hotel restaurants.

_Bedding Quahaugs for Market._--By town laws in Orleans, Eastham
and Wellfleet, each quahauger may, upon application, secure from
the selectmen a license, giving him not more than 75 feet square of
tidal flat upon which to bed his catch of quahaugs. While no positive
protection is guaranteed, public opinion recognizes the right of each
man to his leased area, and this alone affords sufficient protection
for the success of this communal effort, which is the first step by
the people toward quahaug farming.

The quahauger needs only to spread his catch on the surface, and within
two tides the quahaugs will have buried themselves in the sand. Here
they will remain, with no danger of moving away, as the quahaug moves
but little. The quahauger loses nothing by this replanting, as not only
do the quahaugs remain in a healthy condition, but even grow in their
new environment.

The result of this communal attempt at quahaug culture is beneficial.
While the market price for "little necks" is almost always steady, the
price of the larger quahaugs fluctuates considerably, and the market
often becomes "glutted." This would naturally result in a severe loss
to the quahauger if he were forced to keep shipping at a low price.
As it is, the fortunate quahauger who possesses such a grant merely
replants his daily catch until the market prices rise to their proper
level. An additional advantage is gained by the quahauger, who at the
end of the season has his grant well stocked, as higher prices are then
offered. As many as 1,000 barrels are often held this way at the end of
the season.

_Food Value._--See food value table in scallop report.

_Uses._--Besides its many uses as a food, raw, cooked and canned, the
quahaug is of little importance in Massachusetts.

(1) For bait the soft clam (_Mya arenaria_) is generally preferred, and
but few quahaugs are used for this purpose.

(2) The shell was once prized by the Indians for their wampum; now it
is occasionally used for ornamental purposes.

(3) Oystermen use it for cultch when they can get nothing better;
though more fragile shells are usually preferred, so that the masses of
oyster "set" can be easily broken apart.

(4) Shell roads are occasionally made from quahaug shells. Possibly
lime could be profitably obtained.

_History of Quahaug Industry in Massachusetts._

South of Plymouth harbor quahaugs have always been plentiful along
the shores of Cape Cod, Buzzards Bay and the islands of Nantucket and
Martha's Vineyard. Frequent shell heaps show that the Indians were
accustomed to use this mollusk as a food, and even indulged in an
occasional clam bake. Colonial records show us that the early colonists
were not slow in learning to "tread out" this mollusk from the mud
flats. The shells of the quahaug were much prized by the Indians for
wampum beads, because of their purplish color.

Although reckoned inferior by many to the soft clam (_Mya arenaria_),
the quahaug was dug for home consumption for years in Massachusetts,
and but little attempt was made to put it on the market. The
commercial quahaug fishery started on Cape Cod, about the first of the
nineteenth century, growing in extent until about 1860. From 1860
to 1890 the production remained about constant. The production in
1879 for Massachusetts, as given by A. Howard Clark, totaled 11,050
bushels, valued at $5,525. It is only in the last fifteen to twenty
years that the actual development of the quahaug fishery has taken
place. The present production of Massachusetts is 144,044 bushels,
valued at $194,687. To the popular demand for the "little neck" can
be attributed the rapid development of the quahaug industry during
the last ten years. This development has furnished employment for
hundreds of men, and has given the quahaug an important value as a sea
food. What it will lead to is easily seen. The maximum production was
passed a few years ago, constant overfishing caused by an excessive
demand is destroying the natural supply, and there will in a few years
be practically no commercial fishery, unless measures are taken to
increase the natural supply. Quahaug farming offers the best solution
at the present time, and gives promise of permanent success.

The following statistics, taken from the United States Fish Commission
reports, show the rapidity of the development of the quahaug fishery:--

      DATE.    |  Bushels.  |   Value.  | Price (Cents).
  1879,        |    11,050  |   $5,525  |      50.0
  1887,        |    35,540  |   21,363  |      60.0
  1888,        |    26,165  |   14,822  |      56.5
  1898,        |    63,817  |   50,724  |      79.5
  1902,        |   106,818  |  131,139  |     124.0
  1905,        |   166,526  |  288,987  |     155.0

Not only has there been an increase in production, but also an increase
in price, as can be seen from the above table, which shows that the
price has more than doubled between 1888 and 1902. This increase in
price has alone supported a declining fishery in many towns, making it
still profitable for quahaugers to keep in the business, in spite of
a much smaller catch. The advance in price is due both to the natural
rise in the value of food products during the past twenty-five years
and also to the popular demand for the "little neck," or small quahaug.

_State Laws._--There are no State laws governing the quahaug fishery,
except the regulations of the State Board of Health in regard to sewage
pollution in Acushnet River and Boston Harbor.

_Town Laws._--Regulation of the quahaug fishery was given to each town
by the State under the general shellfish act of 1880; the industry is
therefore entirely governed under the by-laws of the town.

An interesting comparison can be made between the quahaug regulations
of the different towns. Good, useless and harmful laws exist side by
side. One town will pass excellent regulations, and enforce them;
another town will make the same, but never trouble to see that they
are observed. Edgartown enforces the 1½-inch quahaug law; Orleans,
Eastham and Wellfleet have the same law, but fail to enforce it. Many
towns allow the small seed quahaugs to be caught and shipped out of the
State, thus losing $4 to every $1 gained. These towns refuse to make
any regulation, such as a simple size limit, which would remedy this
matter, and have no thought for the future of their quahaug industry.
All that can be said is that the quahaug laws are the best of the town
shellfish regulations, and that is but faint praise.

_Statistics of the Quahaug Fishery._

In the following table the towns are arranged in alphabetical order,
and the list includes only those towns which now possess a commercial
quahaug fishery. In giving the number of men, both transient and
regular quahaugers are included. In estimating the capital invested,
the boats, implements, shanties and gear of the quahauger are alone
considered, and personal apparel, such as oilskins, boots, etc., are
not taken into account. The value of the production for each town is
based upon what the quahaugers receive for their quahaugs, and not the
price they bring in the market. The area of quahaug territory given for
each town includes all ground where quahaugs are found, both thick beds
and scattering quahaugs.

      TOWN.    |Number| Capital |Number|Number |1907 PRODUCTION.|      | Value
               |  of  |invested.| of   |  of   +--------+-------+ Area |  of
               | Men. |         |Boats.|Dories |Bushels.| Value.|  in  | Yield
               |      |         |      | and   |        |       |Acres.|  per
               |      |         |      |Skiffs.|        |       |      | Acre.
  Barnstable,  |   25 |    $850 |    - |    25 |   2,500| $3,700|   950| $3.95
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Bourne,      |   46 |   1,000 |    - |    46 |   5,400|  8,400| 2,500|  3.36
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Chatham,     |   50 |   5,750 |   25 |    25 |   6,700| 10,000| 2,000|  5.00
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Dennis,      |   15 |     150 |    - |    10 |     500|    950|   200|  4.75
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Eastham,     |   25 |   8,000 |   12 |     - |  10,000| 11,500| 4,000|  2.87
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Edgartown,   |   70 |  12,000 |   42 |    18 |  20,000| 32,000| 1,800| 17.77
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Fairhaven,   |  115 |   5,000 |   11 |   100 |  15,000| 16,500| 3,000|  5.50
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Falmouth,    |    - |       - |    - |     - |     100|    115|   400|   .29
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Harwich,     |    7 |     200 |    - |     7 |   1,500|  2,550|   100| 25.50
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Marion,      |   19 |     250 |    - |    19 |     800|  1,500|   400|  3.75
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Mashpee,     |    7 |      70 |    - |     5 |     250|    285|   400|   .71
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Mattapoisett,|   28 |     500 |    - |    28 |     800|  1,500|   750|  2.00
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Nantucket,   |   48 |   6,750 |   30 |    10 |   6,294|  8,487| 5,290|  1.60
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Orleans,     |   75 |  25,000 |   30 |    25 |  33,000| 41,350| 1,500| 27.56
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Wareham,     |   50 |   1,000 |    - |    50 |   6,000| 10,500| 1,300|  8.08
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Wellfleet,   |  145 |  27,500 |  100 |     - |  33,000| 41,350| 2,500| 16.54
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |
  Yarmouth,    |   20 |     240 |    - |    10 |   2,200|  4,000| 1,000|  4.00
               |      |         |      |       |        |       |      |Average
  Totals,      |  745 |  94,260 |  250 |   378 | 144,044|194,687|28,090| $6.93


Barnstable, with its extensive bays both on the north or bay side and
on the south or Vineyard Sound side, offers great possibilities for
quahaug production. Although the quahaug ranks, in productive value,
the third shellfish industry of Barnstable, the natural resources
permit an expansion under cultural methods which would place the
quahaug ahead of the oyster, which at the present time is the leading
shellfish industry of the town.

In Barnstable harbor, on the north coast of the town, a few quahaugs
are found scattered in isolated patches. (See Map No. 9.) These are
relatively of small importance commercially, and no regular fishery is
carried on. In the future the vast barren flats of this harbor may be
made productive of quahaugs as well as clams, although at present the
total area of quahaug grounds is hardly 5 acres.

The greater part of the quahaug industry of Barnstable is conducted
on the south shore of the township, which is especially adapted, with
its coves and inlets, for the successful growth of this shellfish. The
principal fishery is in Cotuit harbor and West Bay, and is chiefly
shared by the villages of Osterville, Marston's Mills and Cotuit, which
lie on the east, north and west sides, respectively, of the bay.

While the greater part of Cotuit harbor is taken up by oyster grants,
there are certain parts, though limited in area, which are set aside
for quahauging. The principal area for quahauging is the flat which
runs along Oyster Island. This was originally an oyster grant taken
out by Wendell Nickerson, and thrown open to quahaugers to protect
the quahaug interests from the oyster planters. This territory, which
comprises 70 acres, is mostly hard sand. Directly west in the center of
the harbor lies a strip of 80 acres of mud and eel grass, where both
quahaugs and scallops abound. The depth of water on quahauging grounds
varies from 1 to 14 feet.

Scattering quahaugs are found also in Osterville harbor, West Bay,
Popponesset River and East Bay. This bottom is practically all sand,
and comprises a total of 1,650 acres. This cannot all be considered
good quahaug ground, although quahaugs can occasionally be found.

At Hyannis the quahaug grounds are confined to Lewis Bay, where they
cover an area of 800 acres. The quahaugs lie in scattered patches over
this area, but in no place is there especially good quahauging. The
bottom is hard, usually sandy, with patches of eel grass, while the
average depth of water is hardly more than 6 feet.

In Osterville Bay about 20 men, in Lewis Bay about 5, using the same
number of dories, make a business of quahauging in the summer months.
Three styles of implements are used: (1) oyster tongs, varying from 8
to 16 feet, according to the depth of water; (2) large basket rakes,
with 30-foot handles; (3) ordinary garden rakes, with wire basket, for
shallow-water digging.

At Cotuit the quahaugs run one-third "little necks," one-third mediums
and one-third large. Here several men, using long-handled rakes, make
from $3 to $5 per day in favorable weather. The markets are principally
New York and Boston, where the quahaugs are shipped, mostly in sacks,
which is a cheaper and better way than shipment in barrels. Here the
quahaug season lasts from April 1 to November 1, most of the work being
done in the summer, when the oyster business is at a standstill.

There are no town laws governing the quahaug fishery, other than
forbidding a non-resident of the town the right of quahauging; and no
licenses are required.

No records of the history of the quahaug industry at Barnstable can be
found. A. Howard Clark in 1879 makes the following brief statement,
which is the only record obtainable:--

    Both soft clams and quahaugs are found in the harbor
    [Osterville harbor], but no considerable fishing for them is
    carried on.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),              950
  Number of men,                                   25
  Number of boats,                                  -
  Value of boats,                                   -
  Number of dories,                                25
  Value of dories,                               $500
  Value of implements,                           $350


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                    800
      Value,                                   $2,000
      Bushels,                                  1,700
      Value,                                   $1,700
      Bushels,                                  2,500
      Value,                                   $3,700


The town of Bourne was formerly included in the town of Sandwich, and
many old laws relating to shellfish, such as oyster regulation in
Barlow River, were enacted by the town of Sandwich. Situated at the
head of Buzzards Bay, and separated from the adjacent town of Wareham
by Cohasset Narrows, Bourne has many advantages for a profitable
quahaug industry. It possesses nearly twice as much quahaug territory
as Wareham, but, as most of this lies unproductive, has a smaller
annual output. The territory includes over 2,500 acres of ground, most
of which consists of flats of mud, sand and eel grass, covered with
shallow water. It is very sparsely set with quahaugs. Outside the
oyster grants practically the entire stretch of coast from Buttermilk
Bay to Wings Neck is quahauging ground, as can be seen on Map No. 17.
Other quahaug grounds lie between Basset's Island, Scraggy Neck and
Handy's Point. It is our opinion that this large territory, which
to-day yields on the average less than $3.50 per acre, in the future,
under cultivation, can be made to yield an average of $100 per acre,
thereby bringing into the town of Bourne a yearly income of at least
$250,000, and furnishing labor for hundreds of men.

About 46 men are engaged in the quahaug fishery of Bourne, using the
same number of skiffs and dories, which represent approximately an
investment of $875. The fishery lasts usually seven months during the
summer, April 1 to November 1, while the winter digging is of small
account. Practically all the digging is done in comparatively shallow
water, with short-handled rakes or tongs. Rather more than a third of
the quahaugs appear to be "little necks," while the mediums constitute
one-tenth of the total catch. "Blunts" are of little consequence.

The selectmen issue permits for the taking of quahaugs and clams. In
1906, 46 permits were issued, entitling the holder to 10 bushels of
clams and 10 bushels of quahaugs per week.

There is little to be said concerning the history of the Bourne quahaug
industry, as no early records exist. Its development has been similar
to that of the industries of the other Buzzards Bay towns. During the
last few years the Bourne fishery, unlike most of the towns on Buzzards
Bay, has shown signs of increasing. This is not due, however, to any
increase in the natural supply, but to the decline of the oyster
industry, which gives more opportunity to the quahaugers. The same
antagonistic feeling that is prevalent in Wareham exists here between
the oystermen and quahaugers.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),            2,500
  Number of men,                                   46
  Number of boats,                                  -
  Value of boats,                                   -
  Number of skiffs,                                46
  Value of skiffs,                               $875
  Value of implements,                           $125


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                  2,000
      Value,                                   $5,000
      Bushels,                                  3,400
      Value,                                   $3,400
      Bushels,                                  5,400
      Value,                                   $8,400


Chatham is favorably situated in regard to the quahaug fishery, as
this shellfish is found in the waters on the north and south sides of
the town. The grounds are extensive, covering about 2,000 acres, the
greater part of which consists of the vast area south of the town known
as the "Common Flats."

The quahauging grounds are in four localities: (1) Pleasant Bay; (2)
Mill Pond; (3) Stage Harbor; (4) Common Flats.

(1) Part of the waters of Pleasant Bay belong to the town of Chatham.
In an arm of this bay, known as Crows Pond, the best Pleasant Bay
fishery is carried on in water varying from 6 to 16 feet in depth.

(2) An excellent "little neck" fishery is carried on in the upper part
of the Mill Pond, in comparatively shallow water, comprising an area
of 3 acres. On these bars in 1905 there was a very heavy set of small
quahaugs, which were rapidly taken up before they had a chance to
attain to a fair size.

(3) Quahaugs are raked on the west side of Stage Harbor in 5 to 15 feet
of water, in an area of 4 acres of muddy bottom.

(4) The Common Flats comprise 1,700 acres, and are covered at low tide
by a depth of only 1 to 2 feet of water. Quahaugs are found throughout
this territory in scattering quantities, but practically all is good
quahaug ground except the shifting outer part of the flat. The soil
varies from a pure sand to a sandy mud, and in parts is thickly covered
with eel grass, which makes raking hard. This area offers one of the
best opportunities for successful quahaug planting in the State. The
area is large, seed can be obtained easily and quahaugs grow well in
this locality. If it were not for the lack of protection, Chatham could
establish one of the best quahaug industries in the State by leasing
out the Common Flats for planting purposes.

Quahaugs are taken at Chatham only with rakes. In the deep water in
Crows Pond and in Stage Harbor basket rakes are used; but in the
shallow water on the Common Flats and in the Mill Pond the usual
implement is an ordinary garden rake, with wire netting basket. Handles
from 20 to 25 feet in length are used with the basket rakes.

The quahaug industry has existed in Chatham for the past twelve years.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),            2,000
  Number of men,                                   50
  Number of boats,                                 25
  Value of boats,                              $5,000
  Number of dories,                                25
  Value of dories,                               $350
  Value of implements,                           $400


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                  2,200
      Value,                                   $5,500
      Bushels,                                  4,500
      Value,                                   $4,500
      Bushels,                                  6,700
      Value,                                  $10,000


The quahaug industry of Dartmouth is of little consequence. In 1907,
320 permits were granted, mostly to New Bedford fishermen for "bait."


The quahauging grounds of Dennis are practically all in Bass River,
where Dennis has equal fishery rights with Yarmouth. The area of these
grounds is 200 acres, with a maximum depth of 6 feet of water over the
beds. The history of the industry is the same as that of Yarmouth, as
the two industries are closely associated, and a similar decline has
resulted. The laws for both towns are the same.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),              200
  Number of men (transient),                       15
  Number of boats,                                  -
  Value of boats,                                   -
  Number of skiffs,                                10
  Value of skiffs,                               $100
  Value of implements,                            $50


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                    300
      Value,                                     $750
      Bushels,                                    200
      Value,                                     $200
      Bushels,                                    500
      Value,                                     $950


Eastham is similar to Orleans in situation, possessing a good coast
line on both the east and west, which affords excellent opportunities
for the quahaug fishery.

On the west or bay side are extensive beds of quahaugs, for the most
part blunts, extending into deep water for nearly 3 miles. This
quahauging territory comprises about 4,000 acres, which is open to the
quahaugers of both Wellfleet and Orleans. While scattering quahaugs are
found over approximately all this territory, the fishery is conducted
in only certain definite places.

In Nauset harbor on the east side during the season of 1906 numerous
beds of "little necks," about the 1½-inch size, were discovered. It is
thought that these came from the spawn of certain quahaugs which the
life savers were accustomed to bed in the harbor for their own use.
These quahaugs were torn up and scattered by the ice during a severe
winter, and in this way the nucleus of a new fishery was formed. Two
men who discovered the best of these beds cleared $60 in one week.

On the west coast of the town 25 men commonly dig with long-handled
rakes. These fishermen work at quahauging about 100 days in the year,
and average from 5 to 6 bushels per day. Power boats are used for the
most part, although the boats are not so large or expensive as those
of the Orleans fishermen, for the Eastham quahauger digs in the more
sheltered waters of Wellfleet Bay.

The production for 1906 was 10,000 bushels, but this does not give the
true yield of the Eastham flats, as the Wellfleet and Orleans fishermen
rake to a great extent in Eastham waters, and so many more bushels are
actually taken within the town limits.

The town laws of Eastham are the same as those of Wellfleet. (See
Wellfleet.) The history of the Eastham quahaug industry is so closely
connected with that of Orleans and Wellfleet that no additional
features require mention.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),            4,000
  Number of men,                                   25
  Number of boats,                                 12
  Value of boats,                              $7,375
  Number of dories,                                 -
  Value of dories,                                  -
  Value of implements,                           $625


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                  1,000
      Value,                                   $2,500
      Bushels,                                  9,000
      Value,                                   $9,000
      Bushels,                                 10,000
      Value,                                  $11,500


The finest "little neck" fishery in Massachusetts is found in Katama
Bay, in the town of Edgartown. Two-fifths of the entire catch are
"little necks." The most productive grounds are situated in the lower
part of Katama Bay, while quahaugs are also found in Edgartown harbor
and in Cape Poge Pond, the total area of these localities comprising
1,800 acres.

The fishing is mostly done from power dories or sail boats with basket
rakes. Poles from 20 to 25 feet long are used, as the water over the
beds is less than 20 feet deep. Some quahaugs are taken in the shallow
water with small claw rakes. The catch is shipped to the New York and
Boston markets.

The quahaug industry of Edgartown is the best-regulated shellfish
industry in Massachusetts. If excellent care had not been taken of
the "little neck" fishery of Katama Bay by enforcing a size limit
of 1½ inches, through the employment of a special shellfish warden,
the quahaug fishery of Edgartown would have been ruined long ago by
the exportation of small "seed" quahaugs. To-day the number of small
quahaugs which are returned to the water greatly exceeds the amount of
marketable quahaugs taken. This is the only case in Massachusetts where
the quahaug fishery, by careful regulations of the town, has maintained
an undiminished supply. If other towns had taken similar care of their
quahaug fisheries in the past, the general decline of the industry in
this State would never have become so serious.

The following is a copy of the shellfish permit, which every Edgartown
quahauger is required to take out, at the cost of $2, before he can
rake quahaugs for market. Any man over sixty years old obtains his
permit free. This permit should serve as a model for other towns.

                           SHELLFISH PERMIT.


    In consideration of having received from ____ of Edgartown the
    sum of $2, permission is hereby granted to him to take from any
    of the waters of this town daily, between sunrise and sunset,
    twenty-five bushels of scallops or clams, including shells,
    and four bushels, including shells, of quahaugs; of these four
    bushels, not more than two bushels are to be of the size known
    as "little necks."

    The acceptance of this permit constitutes an agreement by the
    holder thereof that he will, and that any other person who for
    the time being has or shall have in his custody or possession
    any building, boat, barrel, box, tub, crate or other vessel or
    receptacle containing or suitable for or capable of containing
    shellfish, and belonging to or under the control of the holder
    of this permit, shall, at any time or place when requested
    so to do by either of said selectmen or by their authorized
    agent, or by any constable or fish warden of said town, or
    by any other officer authorized to enforce the laws relating
    to shellfish or shellfisheries in said town, open any such
    building, boat, barrel, box, tub, crate or other vessel or
    receptacle, and fully expose to them or either of them the
    contents thereof for inspection; and if the holder of this
    permit or such other person as aforesaid, when so requested,
    refuses or neglects so to do, said selectmen may revoke this
    permit or suspend the same for any stated time, at their

    The holder of this permit is subject to the regulations for
    the taking of eels and shellfish as made and posted by the
    selectmen, and also to any additional regulations which said
    board may hereafter make and publish.

    If the person having this permit for the taking of shellfish
    violates any law of the Commonwealth or any regulation now
    or hereafter made by said selectmen, relating to shellfish
    or shellfisheries in said town, said selectmen may revoke
    said permit, or suspend the same for any stated time at their

    No person is allowed by law to take from the waters of
    said town, or to sell or offer for sale, or to have in his
    possession, any "little neck" clams or quahaugs measuring less
    than one and one-half inches across the widest part. Any person
    violating this provision of law is liable to a fine of not less
    than ten nor more than one hundred dollars.

    This permit will expire April 1, 190 , unless sooner revoked.

                                               _Selectmen of Edgartown._

Ernest Ingersoll in 1879 makes the following statement concerning the
quahaug fishery of Martha's Vineyard:--

    Martha's Vineyard used to be bordered by good quahaug ground,
    but I am not aware that many are caught there now. In an old
    book I find the following allusion to it: "The poquau (_Venus
    mercenaria_) is found in Old Town Harbor, at Cape Poge, and in
    Menemsha Pond: great quantities are exported."

A. Howard Clark in 1879 says:--

    Soft clams and quahaugs are abundant in the harbor, and are
    used by the fishermen for bait.... Three hundred bushels of
    quahaugs and sea clams, valued at $150, were taken during the
    year 1879.

If such were the conditions in 1879, the industry has had a great
development. To-day Edgartown is one of the best quahaug towns of the
State, and produces the finest "little necks." Comparing the production
figures of 1879 and 1907, a great increase is noted:--

                    _Production, 1879._

  Bushels,                                        300
  Value,                                         $150

                    _Production, 1907._

  Bushels,                                     20,000
  Value,                                      $32,000

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),            1,800
  Number of men,                                   70
  Number of boats,                                 42
  Value of boats,                             $10,500
  Number of dories,                                18
  Value of dories,                               $450
  Value of implements,                         $1,050


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                  8,000
      Value,                                  $20,000
      Bushels,                                 12,000
      Value,                                  $12,000
      Bushels,                                 20,000
      Value,                                  $32,000


At Fairhaven the quahaug industry is of considerable importance, and
the output from this town alone is nearly half the entire production of
Buzzards Bay.

Some 3,000 acres are more or less bedded with quahaugs. Of this,
probably not more than one-tenth is very productive. The best
quahauging is in Acushnet River, where digging for market has been
forbidden because of sewage pollution (see New Bedford), and in Priests
Cove as far as Sconticut Neck. In these grounds "little necks" are
numerous. The grounds around West Island and Long Island, once very
productive, are now largely dug out. Little Bay and the east coast of
Sconticut Neck are fairly productive, while the west coast yields only
a small amount. Most of the quahaugs now dug come from the deep water
west-southwest of Sconticut Neck. Here, with rakes having handles from
40 to 60 feet long, the quahaugers dig in water 7 fathoms or more in
depth. The quahaugs, mostly large sharps, are in bluish mud or sticky
bottom, and are all large. A number of blunts are found with these
large sharps. In the Acushnet River, owing to the enforced closed
season, there are a large number of "little necks."

About 115 men are employed now in quahauging. Before the Acushnet River
was closed by law, over twice that number are reported to have been
engaged in the business. Six power boats and five cat boats, besides a
considerable number of skiffs and dories, are used in the fishery.

No permits are required for ordinary quahauging except in the
prescribed territory of Acushnet River, where permits to catch a
certain amount for bait are given as in New Bedford.

The production for 1879, as given by A. Howard Clark in "The Fisheries
of Massachusetts," was 3,000 bushels, which is just one-fifth of the
present production. The supply of quahaugs has decreased the last few
years, though new territory is constantly being opened up, as the
quahaugers go out further into the deeper water. The increased price,
however, probably more than counterbalances the decline in production.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),            3,000
  Number of men,                                  115
  Number of boats,                                 11
  Value of boats,                              $2,600
  Number of skiffs,                               100
  Value of skiffs,                             $1,500
  Value of implements,                           $900


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                  1,000
      Value,                                   $2,500
      Bushels,                                 14,000
      Value,                                  $14,000
      Bushels,                                 15,000
      Value,                                  $16,500


There is practically no quahaug industry in Falmouth. Hardly 100
bushels are dug annually, and those only for home consumption. A few
quahaugs are perhaps shipped by the oystermen.

This town, with its numerous inlets, bays and brackish water ponds,
offers perhaps as fine an opportunity for shellfish culture, especially
for quahaugs, as exists in Massachusetts. There is no reason why the
water of Waquoit Bay and the other brackish ponds should not produce a
great supply of quahaugs, if properly worked.

Quahaugs are found mostly in scattering quantities over a large area in
Waquoit Bay and in small quantities on the north and west side of Great
Pond, comprising a total of nearly 400 acres. Not all this ground,
which is the greater part mud, is capable of producing quahaugs, but
many parts could produce good harvests. On the bay side of the town
small patches of good quahaugs are found at North Falmouth, Squeteague
Pond, West Falmouth harbor on the southeast side, and a few are found
in Hadley harbor, Naushon. These, together with the small patches
in Great Pond, comprise about 1 acre of good quahaug ground, and are
mostly dug by summer people.

In the past twenty-five years there has been a great decline in the
quahaug industry, especially in Waquoit Bay, which to-day barely
produces 50 bushels. A. Howard Clark states, in 1879:[7]--

    Quahaugs are plenty in Waquoit Bay, and are gathered and eaten
    by the villagers, but none are shipped. It is estimated that
    about 500 bushels of quahaugs are annually consumed by the
    people of Falmouth town.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),              400
  Number of men,                                   --
  Number of boats,                                 --
  Value of boats,                                  --
  Number of dories,                                --
  Value of dories,                                 --
  Value of implements,                             --


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                     10
      Value,                                      $25
      Bushels,                                     90
      Value,                                      $90
      Bushels,                                    100
      Value,                                     $115


The quahaug fishery of the town of Harwich is carried on in that part
of Pleasant Bay which lies within the town limits. In the southern
waters of the town, on the Sound side, scattering quahaugs are found
in certain localities, but are not of any commercial importance. The
most important of those localities are off Dean's Creek and in Herring
River, where quahaugs are dug for home consumption.

Harwich shares with Chatham and Orleans the quahaug fishery of Pleasant
Bay, but has a more limited territory, as only a small portion of
Pleasant Bay lies within the town limits. Practically all this
territory, comprising 100 acres, is quahauging ground, though the
commercial quahauging is prosecuted over an area of 10 acres only.
Scattering quahaugs are found over an area of 100 acres.

As the waters of Pleasant Bay are sheltered, the fishing is all done
from dories, with basket rakes having 20 to 25 foot poles. The depth of
water over the quahaug beds is from 6 to 16 feet.

In regard to the quahaug fishery in Pleasant Bay, Mr. Warren J.
Nickerson of East Harwich, who has been acquainted with the industry
for many years, says:--

    Pleasant Bay is and has been a very valuable quahaug ground.
    Some fifty years ago there were shipped in vessels to New Haven
    and other places 13,000 bushels in one year from its waters.
    Since then there has been more or less taken from these waters
    by fishermen from the towns of Orleans, Chatham and Harwich.
    During the last few years there have been 25 regular fishermen
    and perhaps 12 transient. Probably 8,000 bushels a year for the
    last five years would be a fair estimate of the catch. Thirty
    per cent of these were "little necks."

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),              100
  Number of men,                                    7
  Number of boats,                                 --
  Value of boats,                                  --
  Number of dories,                                 7
  Value of dories,                               $100
  Value of implements,                           $100


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                    700
      Value,                                   $1,750
      Bushels,                                    800
      Value,                                     $800
      Bushels,                                  1,500
      Value,                                   $2,550


The town of Marion, situated on the western side of Buzzards Bay,
possesses a spacious harbor, the waters of which furnish excellent
quahaug grounds.

This territory, comprising a total of 400 acres, is chiefly confined
to Marion harbor, running in a narrow strip parallel to the shore from
Aucoot Cove all along the coast to Planting Island. Almost all the head
of the harbor and all of Blankinship's and Planting Island Cove is
quahaug area. Small grounds are also found at Wing's Cove and in the
Weweantit River.

The town law requires each year the possession of a permit costing $1
before a person is entitled to dig quahaugs for sale. Nineteen of these
licenses were issued in 1906, but not more than 2 or 3 of these went to
men who depend upon quahauging for a living. The remaining 16 engage in
the fishery to a greater or lesser extent in the summer season.

The annual production for 1906 was 800 bushels, valued at $1,500, as
about half were "little necks." Mediums are not numerous, and are
bought by the quahaug dealers at $1.25 per bushel and sold by them at
so much per hundred.

In Marion the quahaug industry once flourished to a marked degree, but
at present is very much on the decline. The coves, which once were
bedded with "little necks" and quahaugs, are now nearly exhausted. No
reasons exist for this condition of affairs, so far as known, except
overdigging. Gradually for many years the supply has perceptibly
declined, until now it is at a very low ebb. Where a thousand barrels
were formerly produced, it is doubtful if a thousand bushels are now
dug during the entire season, and the overworked beds are becoming each
year more depleted. A. Howard Clark, in his report on the fisheries of
Marion, estimates the quahaug production in 1880 as 2,000 bushels. The
yield for 1906 is only 800 bushels, which shows an alarming decline
in production. If once the waters of Marion could produce a large
amount of quahaugs, there is no reason why they cannot again be made to
produce the same, or more.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),              400
  Number of men,                                   19
  Number of boats,                                 --
  Value of boats,                                  --
  Number of skiffs,                                19
  Value of skiffs,                               $200
  Value of implements,                            $50


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                    400
      Value,                                   $1,100
      Bushels,                                    400
      Value,                                     $400
      Bushels,                                    800
      Value,                                   $1,500


The quahaug industry at Mashpee is at a low ebb. Natural facilities
are favorable, but a lack of initiative on the part of the inhabitants
causes a small production. The best grounds are found in Popponessett
Bay and River, where a territory of 200 acres includes several oyster
grants which are worked but little. On the east side of Waquoit Bay
scattering quahaugs are found in Mashpee waters.

There are 3 regular and 4 intermittent quahaugers, with an invested
capital of $70, who are obliged by the town laws to have a permit
costing $1. The quahaug industry of the town has remained about the
same for the last twenty-five years, and now a good quahauger can
scarcely average 1½ to 2 bushels per day.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),              400
  Number of men,                                    7
  Number of boats,                                 --
  Value of boats,                                  --
  Number of skiffs,                                 5
  Value of skiffs,                                $50
  Value of implements,                            $20


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                     25
      Value,                                      $60
      Bushels,                                    225
      Value,                                     $225
      Bushels,                                    250
      Value,                                     $285


The town of Mattapoisett, situated to the west of Marion, receives but
little income from her shellfisheries, as the waters are for the most
part too open and exposed for shellfish culture. The quahaug fishery
is the most important shellfish industry of the town, but even this,
when compared with the quahaug fishery of other towns, is rather
unimportant, as most of the suitable territory is nonproductive.

Quahaugs are very unevenly distributed over 800 acres. The best
quahaugs are found in Aucoot Cove and at Brants. In the main harbor
quahaugs are found, though scattering, as indicated on the map.

No licenses or permits are required of the 28 men and boys who add to
their income from time to time by quahauging. Most of these depend on
other sources of employment for their main support. The industry as a
whole is gradually declining, as overfishing has made it impossible for
the natural supply to perpetuate itself.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),              750
  Number of men,                                   28
  Number of boats,                                 --
  Value of boats,                                  --
  Number of skiffs,                                28
  Value of skiffs,                               $425
  Value of implements,                            $75


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                    400
      Value,                                   $1,100
      Bushels,                                    400
      Value,                                     $400
      Bushels,                                    800
      Value,                                   $1,500


The quahaug industry of Nantucket ranks second to the main shellfish
industry, the scallop fishery, and brings annually about $8,000 to the
island. Nantucket is especially adapted for quahaugs, as Nantucket
harbor, Maddequet harbor and the Island of Tuckernuck possess extensive
territory. In spite of these natural advantages, which are as fine
as any in the State, Nantucket produces only 6,000 bushels annually,
whereas her resources, under proper cultural methods, warrant an annual
production exceeding even that of Wellfleet, which is at present
shipping 33,000 bushels.

The quahauging territory of Nantucket is divided into three sections:
(1) Nantucket harbor; (2) Maddequet harbor; and (3) Tuckernuck.

In Nantucket harbor quahaugs are found over an area of 2,290 acres,
both scattering and in thick patches. The principal areas are situated
as follows:--

(1) Near the town between Monomoy Heights and the wharves is a
territory of 240 acres. In the deep water directly out from the wharves
there has been good quahauging although the bed was discovered only a
few years ago.

(2) On the east side of the harbor, between Abram's Point and Pocomo
Head, including Polpis harbor, are extensive grounds, comprising about
900 acres, of scattering quahaugs.

(3) On the opposite side of the harbor lies a strip of quahaug
territory of 250 acres, which extends between Third Point and Bass

(4) At the head of the harbor on both sides quahaugs are found over an
area of 900 acres.

Maddequet harbor on the western end of the island has approximately 300
acres suitable for quahaugs, running from Broad Creek to Eel Point.

On the eastern end of Tuckernuck Island is a bed of quahaugs covering
about 200 acres; while on the west side, between Muskeget and
Tuckernuck, is a large area of 2,500 acres, which is more or less
productive. The Tuckernuck fishery is largely "little necks," and it is
from here that the shipment of small "seed" quahaugs has been made.

In the spring and fall men who have been boatmen during the summer work
at quahauging. While 48 men work irregularly, about 18 men are engaged
in the fishery during the entire summer, though probably never more
than 30 are raking at any one time.

The production in 1906, from April I to November I, was 2,159 barrels,
or 6,477 bushels; value, $7,557.

                          PRODUCTION, 1907.[8]

                |              QUAHAUGS                  |
                | Barrels |  Average  | Bushels |  Value |
     MONTHS     |         | price per |         |        |
                |         |  Barrel   |         |        |
  April         |   138   |   $3.50   |    414  |  $483  |
  May           |   257   |    4.00   |    771  | 1,028  |
  June          |   460   |    4.00   |  1,380  | 1,840  |
  July          |   355   |    3.00   |  1,065  | 1,060  |
  August        |   312   |    3.50   |    936  | 1,092  |
  September     |   302   |    3.42   |    906  | 1,032  |
  October       |   123   |    4.00   |    369  |   492  |
  November      |    50   |    3.00   |    150  |   150  |
    Total       | 1,997   |   $3.60   |  5,991  |$7,177  |
  "Little necks"|   101   |           |    303  | 1,310  |
    Grand total | 2,098   |           |  6,294  |$8,487  |

  |              |            "LITTLE NECKS"
  |              |---------+-----------+---------+--------
  |              | Barrels |  Average  | Bushels |  Value
  |   MONTHS     |         | price per |         |
  |              |         |  Barrel   |         |
  |April         |    --   |     --    |    --   |   --
  |May           |     4   |   $14.00  |    12   |  $56
  |June          |    13   |    14.00  |    39   |  182
  |July          |    33   |    14.00  |    90   |  462
  |August        |    20   |    15.00  |    60   |  300
  |September     |    22   |    10.00  |    66   |  220
  |October       |     9   |    10.00  |    27   |   90
  |November      |    --   |     --    |    --   |   --
  |              +---------+-----------+---------+--------
  |  Total       |   101   |   $12.97  |   303   |$1,310

The month of June shows the largest production, as the summer people
do not arrive in any numbers until July. The men who do the summer
boating are engaged in the quahaug fishery during this month, naturally
increasing the production.

The principal method is raking from a boat or dory with a long-handled
basket rake, very similar in form to the rake used on Cape Cod. The
second method, applicable only in shallow water, employs the use of
a claw rake with a much shorter handle. The quahauger uses this rake
in the shallow water, where he can wade at low tide. The largest claw
rakes are often wider than the basket rakes, and are much cheaper.

At Nantucket about 5 per cent. of the entire catch is "little necks,"
which are found mostly at Tuckernuck. The quahauger usually makes three
culls of his catch: (1) "little necks"; (2) medium; (3) large. A few
blunts are obtained. The quahaugs are shipped chiefly to New York and
Boston markets, either directly by the quahaugers or through Nantucket

The boats used in the industry, numbering 24 sail, 6 power and 10
single dories, and approximating $6,150 in value, are in a way
transitory capital, and are used in the winter for scalloping and other
fishing. Nevertheless, it is necessary to class them as capital used in
the quahaug fishery.

No special town laws are made for the regulation of the Nantucket
quahaug fishery, although at any time by vote of the town suitable
regulations and by-laws can be made.

Quahaugs have probably always been abundant at Nantucket, as over fifty
years ago they were reported as plentiful. It is only of late years
that the fishery has assumed any great importance, when the increasing
prices, especially for the "little necks," made it profitable for men
to enter the business. As it is, many men now quahaug only when they
have nothing else to do.

From the statistics of the United States Fish Commission for 1879 we
find that the annual catch for that year amounted to 150 bushels,
valued at $75. As a striking contrast to this, the present production
of 6,294 bushels, valued at $8,487, shows the great development of the
fishery, which has been caused by more men entering the business, the
opening up of new beds, such as the "little neck" beds of Tuckernuck,
and the improved methods of raking in the deep water.

It is rather difficult to state definitely, from lack of past
statistical figures, whether Nantucket industry is declining or
improving. Between 1879 and 1906 no records are obtainable. The
production figures for 1906 show 6,477 bushels, as compared with 6,144
bushels in 1907. Whether there was merely a sudden temporary increase
in the supply by the opening up of new beds in 1906, or whether there
is a steady decline, can only be determined by the production of future
years. Many indications point to the latter, in spite of the assurance
of the quahaugers that 1907 was a good season, because of high market

The last few years have witnessed a change in the quahaug fishery,--a
realization that there is more money in planting and raising quahaugs
than in oyster culture. The out-of-State oystermen, especially in New
York, have been the first to realize this, and have been buying, at the
rate of $4 to $5 per bushel, all the small quahaugs they can procure,
merely replanting, to reap the following year a yield of 3 to 6 bushels
for every bushel planted.

Under the stimulus of the high prices offered, many bushels of small
quahaugs have been shipped from the town, which thus lost what the
planters gained. There is much feeling against such a practice, but so
far nothing has been done by the town to stop this shipping of "seed"
quahaugs. As the town has full control of its shellfisheries, it has
only to pass a simple law allowing no quahaugs under 2 inches to be
taken, and see that it is properly enforced. Such a matter should be
attended to at once, as not only is the actual value of the catch
diminished, but the industry is seriously impaired by the capture of
these small quahaugs before they can spawn.

The only other way to remedy this difficulty is to grant licenses
allowing the replanting of these small quahaugs on the barren parts of
the harbor until they have obtained a proper size. The results obtained
from the experiments of the commission in Polpis harbor show that
quahaugs will grow rapidly when thus replanted in suitable places, and
that a gain of ½ to ¾ of an inch, or 3 to 6 bushels for every bushel
bedded, can be obtained during the six summer months (May to November).

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),            5,290
  Number of men,                                   48
  Number of boats,                                 30
  Value of boats,                              $5,800
  Number of dories,                                10
  Value of dories,                               $350
  Value of gear,                                 $600


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                    303
      Value,                                   $1,310
      Bushels,                                  5,991
      Value,                                   $7,177
      Bushels,                                  6,294
      Value,                                   $8,487

_New Bedford._

The quahaug industry of New Bedford was practically annihilated by the
law of 1905, which closed the Acushnet River and Clark's Cove to both
clammer and quahauger. Good beds of quahaugs, particularly "little
necks," exist in both these waters, but can be taken only for bait.
As several sewers run into the Acushnet River, and the public health
was endangered by the consumption as food of the quahaugs taken from
the river and the waters near its mouth, nearly 400 acres of quahaug
territory were closed by the State Board of Health. What little
available territory there is outside the prescribed area, off Clark's
Point, is free to all.

A license is required to dig quahaugs for bait in this territory, and
such is issued free of charge. The maximum amount permitted to be dug
is 2 bushels per week of clams or quahaugs, or of both. Some 320
permits have been issued since the law was passed, in 1905. Eleven of
these have been since revoked for unlawful conduct on the part of the
possessors. For the first offence the license is merely revoked, for
the second a fine of $10, and for the third $100 is imposed.


Although Orleans is well represented by all four main types of
shellfish, the quahaug fishery is the leading industry of the town. A
favorable coast line, fronting on the west the waters of Cape Cod Bay
and bounded on the east by Pleasant Bay, provides excellent facilities
for the quahaug fishery.

The main quahauging territory is in Cape Cod Bay. While the west coast
of Orleans is only about a mile long, the privileges which allow
the citizens of Orleans free fishing in Eastham waters, according
to the act of incorporation in 1792, "whereby the benefits of the
shellfishery were to be mutually shared," opens up an extensive tract
of quahaug territory, from 2 to 3 miles in width, extending north as
far as Billingsgate Island and the Wellfleet line. The actual Orleans
quahaug territory consists only of 1,000 acres, which furnish but poor
quahauging, while the water is several fathoms deep.

On the east side an entirely different condition prevails. Here in
the waters of Pleasant Bay is a bed of quahaugs which, though worked
for a long time, is still in excellent condition. The proportion of
"little necks" is larger than on the west side, running about one-half
the entire catch; neither is the water as deep here, rarely having
a greater depth than 12 feet, and by no means as rough as the more
exposed waters of Cape Cod Bay. The quahauging grounds here comprise
500 acres.

Although there are 1,500 acres of quahaug territory in the town of
Orleans, only a small part of this is commercially productive, and the
larger part of the fishery is carried on in Eastham waters.

The possession of two entirely different quahaug grounds, one on the
east, the other on the west coast, makes practically two different
industries, each of which will have to be considered separately.

(1) _Cape Cod Bay Industry._--In Cape Cod Bay 50 men rake quahaugs
whenever the weather will permit. Owing to the great depth of water,
the work is difficult, requiring rakes with handles often 60 feet long.
Two men generally go in one boat, the usual type being an elongated
dory, some 30 to 32 feet over all, carrying from 4 to 12 horse-power
gasolene engines. These boats are built to stand rough weather, and
cost from $700 to $1,000 apiece. Thirty boats are employed in this
business in the bay.

The quahauger averages perhaps 100 working days in a year, as in a
strong wind and choppy sea it is impossible to rake in the deep water.
A good fisherman expects to rake from 2 to 3 barrels of quahaugs a
day. Five to ten years ago as many as 15 barrels were dug in a day
by one man, but this is impossible now. Even as it is, the profits
are large. The best quahauger in Orleans cleared in 1906 over $1,600,
while several others made nearly $1,400. As at Wellfleet, the Orleans
quahaugers receive licenses to replant their quahaugs along the shore,
and it is customary to thus keep them until the New York or Boston
markets offer suitable prices. Nearly two-thirds of these deep-water
quahaugs are blunts, and perhaps one-tenth of the catch is "little

(2) _Pleasant Bay Industry._--About 25 men dig here from ordinary
dories, using short rakes and tongs. The average wages are $2 to $3 per
day, which is considerably less than the high wages of the Cape Cod Bay
fishery; but many more days can be utilized during the year, while the
work is much easier and the necessary outlay of capital is slight. Here
the quahaugs run about one-half "little necks," and the proportion of
blunts is small.

Little evidence of decline can be seen in Pleasant Bay, where the bed
of quahaugs, although raked for a long time, still shows few signs of
decrease. On the Cape Cod Bay side the reverse is true, and the supply
is gradually diminishing.

The same town laws for regulation of the quahaug fishery apply for
Wellfleet, Eastham and Orleans. (See Wellfleet.)

The main historical features of the quahaug industry at Orleans have
been similar to Wellfleet, the industry lying practically dormant until
1894, when it rapidly reached its present production. Unfortunately,
but little data can be obtained for comparison of the industry of 1879
with 1907. Ernest Ingersoll reports, in 1879:--

    At Orleans, some few men who go mackereling in summer stay at
    home and dig clams in winter, getting perhaps 50 barrels of
    quahaugs among others, which are peddled in the town.

Comparing the two years by table, we find:--

                         |1879.            |1907.                         |
  Annual production,     |150 bushels,     |33,000 bushels.               |
  Value of production,   |$82.50,          |$41,350.                      |
  Number of men,         |A few,           |75.                           |
  Location, quahaug beds,|Pleasant Bay,    |Cape Cod Bay and Pleasant Bay.|
  Market,                |Home consumption,|New York and Boston.          |

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

                            | Cape Cod Bay. | Pleasant Bay. |  Total.
  Area (acres),             |      1,000    |       500     |   1,500
  Number of men,            |         50    |        25     |      75
  Number of boats,          |         30    |         -     |      30
  Value of boats,           |    $23,000    |         -     | $23,000
  Number of dories,         |          -    |        25     |      25
  Value of dories,          |          -    |      $500     |    $500
  Value of implements,      |     $1,250    |      $250     |  $1,500
                            |               |               |
          _Production._     |               |               |
                            |               |               |
  "Little necks":--         |               |               |
     Bushels,               |      2,700    |     3,000     |   5,700
     Value,                 |     $6,750    |    $7,000     | $13,750
                            |               |               |
  Quahaugs:--               |               |               |
     Bushels,               |     24,300    |     3,000     |  27,300
     Value,                 |    $24,300    |    $3,300     | $27,600
                            |               |               |
  Total:--                  |               |               |
     Bushels,               |     27,000    |     6,000     |  33,000
     Value,                 |    $31,050    |   $10,300     | $41,350


No commercial quahaug fishery is carried on at Provincetown. A few
quahaugs, chiefly "little necks," are found in the tide pools among the
thatch on the northwestern side of the harbor.


A quahaug fishery existed in Swansea until three years ago. Since that
time there has been no commercial fishery, though a few quahaugs are
still dug for home consumption.


Occasionally a few scattering quahaugs are found on the bars, which
extend out one-quarter of a mile from shore on the bay side. No quahaug
fishery is carried on.


The town of Wareham, situated on the northeast side of Buzzards Bay
and separated from the adjoining town of Bourne by Cohasset Narrows,
has a coast line indented with numerous small inlets, bays and rivers,
which afford excellent opportunities for the growth of the quahaug.
The villages of Onset, Wareham and part of Buzzards Bay enjoy the
privileges of this fishery.

Quahaugs are found over practically the entire territory, and comprise
a total area of about 1,300 acres. Although much of this area is
barren, the commercial fishery is maintained by small isolated beds
which occur here and there.

The two principal centers of the industry are in the Wareham River and
in Onset Bay. At Onset the whole bay, except the oyster grants, as
included between the southeast end of Mashnee Island and Peters Neck,
is used for quahauging. A few quahaugs are found in Broad Cove, and
fair digging is obtained in Buttermilk Bay and Cohasset Narrows. The
Wareham River, outside the oyster grants, and a narrow shore strip from
Weweantit River to Tempe's Knob, comprise the rest of the territory. In
Onset Channel a fine bed exists in deep water, 2 to 4 fathoms, but the
ground is so hard that not much digging is done.

It will be seen from the map that practically 75 per cent. of the
quahaug territory is taken up by oyster grants, especially in the
Wareham River and Onset Bay. Town sentiment is in a chaotic state
over the oyster and quahaug deadlock, and much friction naturally
exists between the opposing factions, the quahaugers and oystermen.
The struggle between these two parties was at its height several years
ago, and the enmity still continues, though not so openly, owing to the
decline of the quahaug industry. Rightly managed, affairs ought to be
so arranged that prosperity might be brought to both factions; but town
customs and town laws, poorly enforced at the best, are hardly able to
cope with this evil, which has resulted in much expense legally and
financially to both parties, and both industries are badly crippled in
consequence,--the oyster industry by lack of protection and the quahaug
industry by loss of grounds. It is hoped that in the future suitable
arrangements can be made for both industries, and that the quahaug
industry, which is at present declining, can be put on an equal footing
with the oyster industry, by granting licenses to plant and grow

Most of the digging is done with garden rakes, potato diggers or by
hand. Some tongs are used, but few if any long-handled basket rakes,
since the digging is chiefly confined to the shallow water, not more
than 10 feet deep, except in Onset Channel, where it ranges from 12 to
24 feet.

No information or statistical records of the quahaug fishery of Wareham
can be obtained, and it is therefore impossible to draw any comparison
between the present industry and the industry of twenty-five years ago.

The decline of the quahaug fishery in Wareham is an established
fact. The production of 6,000 bushels for 1906 is far less than the
production of five years ago. Since 1901 the output has steadily
declined, and where the quahauger once was able to rake 5 bushels at
a tide, to-day he can rake scarcely 1 bushel in the same time. It
is only a question of a few years when the natural supply will be
completely exterminated. The only salvation of the industry in Wareham
is to increase the natural supply by quahaug farming.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),            1,300
  Number of men,                                   50
  Number of boats,                                  -
  Value of boats,                                   -
  Number of dories,                                50
  Value of dories,                               $750
  Value of implements,                           $250


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                  3,000
      Value,                                   $7,500
      Bushels,                                  3,000
      Value,                                   $3,000
      Bushels,                                  6,000
      Value,                                  $10,500


The town of Wellfleet possesses the finest quahaug industry in
Massachusetts. More men are engaged in the business and the annual
production is larger than that of any other town of the State.

In colonial days the towns of Orleans, Eastham and Wellfleet were
incorporated as one town,--the town of Eastham. In 1763 an act was
passed incorporating the North Precinct of Eastham into a district by
the name of Wellfleet, "Reserving to the inhabitants of said town the
privileges by them heretofore enjoyed of all ways to and of erecting
houses on the beaches and islands for the convenience of the fishery of
all kinds, and of anchorage and of landing all goods or wares at any of
their common landing places in any of the harbors of said Eastham in
like manner as they might have done if this act had never been made and
passed." By this act were created the two independent towns of Eastham
and Wellfleet, which held in common all fisheries, thus giving the
mutual right of the shellfisheries to both towns.

In 1797 another act of incorporation, separating Orleans from Eastham,
was enacted, which provided that the benefits of the shellfisheries of
these two towns were to be mutually enjoyed.

The result of these two acts was to give Eastham and Wellfleet and at
the same time Eastham and Orleans mutual rights of the shellfishery,
but forbidding mutual shellfisheries between Wellfleet and Orleans.
While this may seem to give theoretically the advantage to Eastham,
actually the town gains nothing in the quahaug fishery, as Orleans has
practically no productive grounds on the bay side, and the Orleans
quahaugers fish in the Eastham waters.

The quahaug territory of Wellfleet comprises about 2,500 acres, and
approximately takes up all the harbor, wherever there are no oyster
grants, running from the "Deep Hole" between Great Island and Indian
Neck southward to the Eastham line. Outside of these limits a few
quahaugs are found on the flats of Duck Creek and along the shore
flats of the town. They are more abundant on the north side of Egg
Island, where they are taken in shallow water with ordinary hand
rakes. The best quahauging is found in the channel extending from an
imaginary line between Lieutenant's Island and Great Beach Hill south
to Billingsgate. The greatest depth at low tide is 4½ fathoms and the
general average is about 3 fathoms. In this channel are found most of
the "little necks," small blunts and small sharps.

Outside of the oyster grants, quahaugs are found south of Great
Island, north of Billingsgate Island on the west side of the harbor,
on Lieutenant's Island bar and at the mouth of Blackfish Creek. A few
quahaugs, both sharps and blunts, are raked with 25-foot rakes in the
shallow water 6 to 8 feet near the beach, usually on a sandy bottom.

The principal market for Wellfleet quahaugs is New York, though many
are sent to Boston and other parts of the country, even to the middle
west. Quahaugs have been shipped from Wellfleet to Milwaukee and
arrived in good condition after ten days.

The annual production is 33,000 bushels, one-sixth of these, 5,500
bushels, being "little necks." There were 140 men engaged in the
fishery in 1906, and 145 permits were granted in 1907. The average
yield for a day's raking is 4 bushels, although an exceptional
quahauger can sometimes rake 7 bushels.

Practically all the raking is done in deep water, with rakes the
handles of which are often 47 feet long. Each quahauger has a set
of handles of various lengths for different depths of water. Both
power boats and "cats" are used here in quahauging, the power boats
possessing considerable advantage over the sail boat. Thirty-eight
power boats and 62 sail boats, both single and double manned, are used
at Wellfleet.

At present there is every indication of a declining fishery. Until
the last three years the industry has been steadily on the increase
since 1894. The maximum production was reached a few years ago, and
the industry is slowly on the decline, unless the opening up of new
beds gives it a fresh start. Unfortunately, all the quahaugers do not
realize the possibility of this seemingly inexhaustible supply giving
out, and believe it will continue forever; but any one can see that
it is impossible for the natural supply to continue when such inroads
are yearly made, and that it is only a question of time when the best
business asset of the town will become extinct.

For years there has been an antagonistic feeling between the
quahaugers and the oystermen, due to the conflicting interests of
these industries. Although the quahaug territory has been narrowed
down by the giving of oyster grants in the harbor, the quahaug fishery
has not suffered severely, as the poorer quahaug grounds were alone
granted, with the idea that more money could be made by using these
for oyster culture. Although these grants were laid out in good faith,
injustice in many instances has been done the quahaug industry; but on
the whole the change has been for the benefit of the town. In the broad
waters of Wellfleet harbor there is room for both industries, and there
is no reason why both should not prosper if wisely regulated, without
the intervention of town politics. At present this antagonism has hurt
the interests of both, and it is manifestly unfair that either should
drive the other out while there is room for both to prosper.

Wellfleet is the only town that can boast of a quahaug club. This
club was formed in 1904, and had an enrollment of practically all the

Permits are required of every man engaged in the quahaug fishery. These
cost $1 apiece, and are granted on application to any one who has been
a resident of the town for six months. These permits are to be obtained
each year, on or before May 1, after which date an additional charge of
50 cents is made for collecting. No person without a regular permit is
allowed to catch quahaugs for market. Permits were first issued in 1904.

Section 2 of chapter 269 of the Acts of 1904 is as follows:--

    SECTION 2. No inhabitant of said towns shall sell or offer for
    sale little neck clams or quahaugs which measure less than one
    and one-half inches across the widest part, and no person shall
    in any of said towns sell or offer for sale little neck clams
    or quahaugs which measure less than one and one-half inches
    across the widest part.

This excellent law was passed for the towns of Eastham, Orleans
and Wellfleet, but has never been enforced. Although enacted and
technically lived up to, no measures are made for its enforcement,
which would necessitate a shellfish inspector. This furnishes an
example of the nonenforcement of one of the few good town laws.

Section 4 of chapter 269 of the Acts of 1904 is as follows:--

    SECTION 4. The selectmen of the said towns may, in their
    respective towns, grant licenses or permits for such periods,
    not exceeding two years, and under such conditions as they
    may deem proper, not however covering more than seventy-five
    feet square in area, to any inhabitants of the town to bed
    quahaugs in any waters, flats and creeks within the town at
    any place where there is no natural quahaug bed, not impairing
    the private rights of any person or materially obstructing any
    navigable waters. It shall be unlawful for any person, except
    the licensee and his agents, to take any quahaugs in or remove
    them from the territory covered by any such license.

The above should receive well-deserved praise, as it is one of the most
useful town laws ever enacted in Massachusetts. Each quahauger is thus
enabled to stake off a little plot 75 feet square on the flats, whereon
he can bed his catch whenever the market price is too low for shipment.
This not only makes steadier work for the quahaugers, since a dull
market does not stop digging, as before, but also enables him to obtain
a better price for his quahaugs, and he is not forced to lose through
the wastes of competition.

Quahaugs have always been abundant at Wellfleet. Forty years ago about
15 men were engaged in the business, and shipped their catch to Boston
by packet boats, quahaugs then wholesaling at 50 cents per bushel.

In 1879 (report of the United States Fish Commission) Ernest Ingersoll
gives the following account of the quahaug industry at Wellfleet, which
furnishes such an excellent comparison with the present industry that
it is given here:--

    The early productiveness of Cape Cod is shown by the presence
    of numerous shellfish heaps, particularly in Wellfleet and
    Barnstable harbors, filled up by the Indians, and consisting
    almost wholly of the shells of this mollusk. Though in greatly
    depleted numbers, the quahaug still survives along the inside
    of the Cape, and at Wellfleet has been raked from early times
    by the settlers. Mr. F. W. True contributes some notes on
    this place, from which I learn that the quahaug fishery as
    a business there dates from the beginning of the nineteenth
    century. It grew in extent until 1863, and from that time
    until 1868 the trade was at its height, since when it has
    diminished year by year, owing to lack of good market rather
    than failure of the supply. Between 1863 and 1869 the average
    catch each year was not less than 2,500 bushels. Of this amount
    a comparatively small part was consumed at Wellfleet, and the
    rest were shipped to Boston, Provincetown, Salem, Newport,
    Manchester and a few other New England ports. From 1870 to 1876
    the quantity of quahaugs taken per year decreased from 2,500
    bushels to 1,800 bushels, and this latter amount has remained
    constant to the present year. Of the total catch in 1878,
    fully one-half, or 900 bushels, was consumed in Wellfleet, and
    the remaining 900 bushels were shipped to Boston and other
    neighboring towns. For three years, beginning with 1876, 75
    bushels of quahaugs have been annually shipped to New York City.

    Quahaugs are found in all parts of Wellfleet Bay except in a
    small spot near the wharves, called the "Deep Hole," and a
    similar one on the west side of the bay. Both of these places
    are covered with a thick, soft mud. It is not usual, however,
    to fish in parts of the bay where the average depth at low
    water exceeds 8 feet. Most of the raking is done on the western
    side. In ordinary years, quahaug raking is begun the last of
    March and continues until the first of October. As a general
    thing, no raking is done through the winter months, although
    in some years a small amount has been done through holes cut
    in the ice. The fishermen rake about four tides per week,
    beginning at half-ebb and raking to half-flood. The boats used
    are either cat boats or yawls rigged with two sails. Each boat
    carries 1 man. The rake employed at Wellfleet is described
    by Mr. True as similar in form to an oyster rake, but made of
    steel instead of iron. In former days this instrument was of
    iron, the tips of the teeth only being of steel. An average
    rake has seventeen teeth, and weighs about 12 pounds. The
    handle or tail is of wood, and is about 23 feet long. The
    baskets in which the quahaugs are collected and measured are
    of ordinary manufacture, and hold about a bushel each; and the
    whole outfit of a quahaug fisherman does not cost over $150,
    and the total amount of capital invested in apparatus at the
    present time in Wellfleet does not exceed $800. This amount is
    about evenly divided between 5 men, none of whom are engaged in
    this fishery more than a part of their time.

    Quahaugs are sent to market always in the shell, and packed
    in second-hand flour or sugar barrels. The wholesale price
    of quahaugs for many years averaged 60 cents per bushel, but
    in 1879 it fell to 55 cents. One dollar and seventy-five
    cents is the average wholesale price per barrel. Quahaugs
    retail in Wellfleet at 80 cents per bushel. The usual method
    of transportation is by packet, at a cost of 25 cents per

                     COMPARISON OF 1879 WITH 1907.

                           |         1879.        |         1907.
  Annual production,       |1,800,                |33,000.
                           |                      |
  Annual value,            |$990,                 |$41,250.
                           |                      |
  Average price per bushel,|55 cents,             |$1.25.
                           |                      |
  Number of men,           |5,                    |145.
                           |                      |
  Capital,                 |$800,                 |$25,950.
                           |                      |
  Market,                  |Boston and New York,  |New York, Boston,
                           |                      |and other cities.
                           |                      |
  Season,                  |April 1 to October 1, |April 1 to October 1.
                           |                      |
  Boats,                   |5 sail boats,         |100 boats, one-third
                           |                      |power, two-thirds
                           |                      |sail.
                           |                      |
  Deepest water,           |8 feet,               |40 feet.
                           |                      |
  Longest rake,            |23 feet,              |47 feet.
                           |                      |
  Best quahaug beds,       |West side of harbor,  |Channel.

From the account of Mr. Ingersoll the above table has been formulated,
showing the vast increase in the quahaug business of Wellfleet since
1879, as well as certain changes in the industry. This by no means
proves that the quahaug industry is on the increase; it merely shows
that it has taken a tremendous development since 1879, and the
fact that the quahaug industry of Wellfleet has passed its maximum
production a few years ago and is now on the decline should not be
overlooked in consulting this table, which otherwise would give an
erroneous impression. The changing of the quahaug grounds from shallow
to deeper water alone is a sign of the decline of the industry. The
quahaug industry has developed to its present extent only since 1894,
and is comparatively recent. By the opening of the great beds of
"little necks" and quahaugs in the channel and deep water the industry
suddenly became important.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),            2,500
  Number of men,                                  145
  Number of power boats,                           38
  Value of power boats,                       $14,000
  Number of sail boats,                            62
  Value of sail boats,                        $10,300
  Value of implements,                         $3,200


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                  5,500
      Value,                                  $13,850
      Bushels,                                 27,500
      Value,                                  $27,500
      Bushels,                                 33,000
      Value,                                  $41,350


The quahaug grounds, which lie mostly in Bass River, are free to the
inhabitants of Dennis and Yarmouth, as these two towns have common
fishery rights. Quahaugs are found in four localities: (1) Bass River;
(2) Mill Creek; (3) Barnstable Bar on the north shore; and (4) Lewis
Bay. The total area is 1,000 acres, which includes all grounds where
there are any quahaugs, as there are now no thick beds. The average
depth of water over the quahaug grounds is 4 feet.

The town law governing the quahaug fishery reads thus:--

    All persons other than the inhabitants of the towns of Dennis
    and Yarmouth are prohibited from taking clams and quahaugs from
    the shores and waters of the town of Yarmouth. Inhabitants
    of the Commonwealth not residents of Dennis and Yarmouth may
    obtain permits of the selectmen to take sufficient quantity of
    said shellfish for their family use.

The history of the quahaug industry of Yarmouth is one of decline. The
industry has existed for fifteen years, starting in 1892. Mr. Edgar N.
Baker, who has been interested in the business ever since it started,

    In the last ten years it is safe to say that the catch has
    fallen off fully 75 per cent., and nothing but the constant
    advance in prices and lack of profitable employment has
    prompted men to give their attention to this method of
    obtaining their "bread and butter." The most conservative
    estimate would not put it below 50 per cent.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Area of quahaug territory (acres),            1,000
  Number of men (transient),                       20
  Number of boats,                                 --
  Value of boats,                                  --
  Number of skiffs,                                10
  Value of skiffs,                               $100
  Value of implements,                           $140


  "Little necks":--
      Bushels,                                  1,200
      Value,                                   $3,000
      Bushels,                                  1,000
      Value,                                   $1,000
      Bushels,                                  2,200
      Value,                                   $4,000


[7] "The Fisheries of Massachusetts," United States Fish Commission
Report, Section II., p. 253.

[8] Returns of Special Agent Wm. C. Dunham.

[9] "The Oyster, Scallop, Clam, Mussel and Abalone Industries," by
Ernest Ingersoll. United States Fish Commission Report, Section V.,
Vol. 2, p. 603.

SCALLOP (_Pecten irradians_).

The common shallow-water scallop is unknown commercially on the north
shore, occurring only south of Boston. It is usually found in abundance
along the southern shore of Cape Cod, in Buzzards Bay, and about the
islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

For the past three years investigations in regard to its growth, habits
and culture have been carried on by the Commissioners on Fisheries and
Game. These investigations are now practically completed. In another
report the whole life history of this bivalve will be given, showing
the application of this scientific study to the existing conditions of
the industry.

The scallop fishery in Massachusetts is only a partial industry, as it
does not concern the whole coast line, but merely the Vineyard Sound
and Buzzards Bay shore. Compared with other States, the production of
Massachusetts is favorable, New York alone exceeding it in output.
The southern coast of Massachusetts is especially adapted for this
shellfish. Its bays, sheltered harbors and inlets afford excellent
ground for the scallop, which requires protection against the heavy
seas. Thousands of acres of eel-grass flats from 1 to 60 feet under
water were formerly covered by beds of scallops, and in parts are still
thickly set. While the extent of the scalloping area is large, only
portions are ever productive at any one time. A set may be in one part
this year, and the next year's spawn may catch in a different place.
Thus, while all the ground is suitable for scallops, only a small part
is in productive operation each year.

While the possibilities of future development are not as alluring as
in the other shellfisheries, yet much can be done to assist nature and
help preserve the supply. Wise laws and well-directed efforts can save
many bushels of the young scallops which yearly die on the exposed
flats where they have set in unfavorable places.

_Scope of the Report._--The object of this report is to present certain
information concerning the scallop industry which will be of use to
the scallop fishermen, and of interest to the general public and the
consumers. While the scallop is well known as an article of food, the
majority of people know little about the animal. It will therefore be
necessary in the following report to give brief descriptions of the
various methods used in the capture of this bivalve, in order to make
clear the more technical portions.

The first part of the report considers the general results of the
survey, the history of the industry, the scallop laws, the methods of
scalloping and the statistics of the industry. The second part gives a
more detailed description, the following points being considered under
each town: (1) survey; (2) statistics of industry; (3) town laws; (4)

_Methods of Work._--Several difficulties stand in the way of procuring
exact information concerning the scallop industry, especially in regard
to historical data which should show the improvement or decline of the
fishery. The town records are incomplete, lost, or furnish but slight
information. Little has been written about this industry, and we were
thus forced to rely upon the scallopers for information concerning the
history and former production of each town. Fortunately, the scallop
industry is of recent origin (thirty years), and the information is
very nearly correct. By the use of town records, market reports,
records of express shipments, personal surveys and estimates by the
various scallopers, and by all other methods at our command, the facts
of the last few years have been obtained in an approximately correct

The area of the scallop territory was obtained by personal inspection
and calculated by plottings on the maps. In designating the area
suitable for scallops in any town by a certain number of acres or
by plottings on the map, it does not mean that scallops are found
each year over all this territory. Allowances must be made for the
uncertainty of the scallop supply. Some years there will be no
scallops; in other years, plenty. Even when scallops are plentiful,
they rarely cover the whole territory, but are found only in certain
parts in different years. The designation of an area as scallop
territory means that scallops have been found in the past over this
territory, and that the natural conditions of the territory appear
favorable for scallops.

_The Decline._

The most important questions which first come to mind when considering
the scallop industry of to-day are these three: (1) Has there been any
decline in the industry? If so, how extensive? (2) What are the causes
of the decline? (3) How can the fishery be improved?

I. _Extent of the Decline._--There is no question but that the industry
as a whole has declined. This decline has made itself manifest,
especially in certain localities, _e.g._, Buzzards Bay, where until
1907 the entire fishery, except at New Bedford and Fairhaven, had been
totally extinct for the past seven years.

Along the south side of Cape Cod, at Edgartown and Nantucket, the
supply has on the average remained the same. Of course there is varying
abundance each year, but as a whole the industry in these localities
can hardly be said to have declined.

On the other hand, on the north side of Cape Cod we find a marked
decline. A scallop fishery no longer exists at Plymouth, Barnstable
harbor, Wellfleet and Provincetown, though twenty-five years ago these
places boasted of a valuable industry.

So we have to-day in Massachusetts three localities, two of which show
a marked decline in the scallop fishery, while the other shows some
improvement. Of the two depleted areas, the one (north of the Cape) may
never revive the industry; the other (Buzzards Bay) gives indications
that the industry can once more be put on a very profitable footing.
The only thing necessary is perpetual precaution on the part of the
fishermen, in order to prevent this decline. Massachusetts must not
allow the industry to become extinct, as in Rhode Island.

II. _Causes of the Decline._--The causes of the decline of this
industry can be grouped under three heads: (1) natural enemies; (2)
overfishing by man; (3) adverse physical conditions.

The natural enemy of the scallop which works the greatest mischief is
the starfish, or "five finger," as it is often called. The starfish
destroys the scallop in the same manner as it attacks the oyster. The
decline of the scallop fishery in Buzzards Bay is attributed by the
fishermen to the inroads of this pest. Undoubtedly the starfish was
the chief apparent cause, since, according to report, dredges full of
starfish could be hauled up. In other localities in Massachusetts the
starfish has not been so plentiful.

While the main cause of the decline of the natural clam, quahaug and
oyster beds is overfishing by man, the decline of the scallop fishery
cannot be so considered. The scallop has a short life, hardly 25
per cent. passing the two-year limit; so it does no harm to capture
the marketable scallops which are over sixteen months old, as the
scallop spawns when one year old, and dies a natural death usually
before it reaches a second spawning season. When only old scallops
are taken, as is generally the case, it is probably _impossible_
for man to exterminate the scallops by _overfishing_. Unfortunately,
in certain localities in the past there has been a large capture of
the "seed" scallop, viz., the scallop less than one year old, which
has not spawned. This has worked the ruin of the scalloping in these
localities. The capture of the spawners for another year merely makes
the next year's set so much smaller, and causes a rapid decline.

As a rule, it is hardly profitable to catch the "seed" scallop, owing
to its small size. But a direct relation can be established between a
high market price and the capture of seed. When the market price is
high and scallops scarce, it becomes profitable to catch the young
"seed." The present scallop law now defines a "seed" scallop, and
forbids its capture. By protecting the "seed" scallop the State has
done all that at present appears expedient to insure the future of the
industry; the rest lies in the hands of the towns.

So, while the scallop has declined in certain localities, and the
decline has been hastened by unwise capture of the "seed" scallop,
the main decline of the fishery cannot be attributed to wholesale
overfishing, as it is impossible to overfish if only the old scallops
(over one year old) are taken; for, unlike most other animals, the
scallop usually breeds but once, and its natural period of life is
unusually brief. These scallops, if not taken, will die, and prove a
total loss; so every fisherman should bear in mind that, as long as the
"seed" scallops are protected, severe fishing of large scallops is not
likely to injure the future scallop industry.

The principal causes of the decline of the fishery, besides the inroads
of man, are best termed "adverse physical conditions." Severe winters,
storms, anchor frost, etc., work destruction upon the hapless scallop.
The "infant mortality" is especially great.

As the scallop dies before reaching its second birthday, only one set
of scallops spawn in any one season. There are never two generations of
scallops spawning at one time. I quote from Ernest Ingersoll in this

    This represents a case where the generations follow one another
    so rapidly that there are never two ranks, or generations,
    in condition to reproduce their kind at once, except in
    rare individual instances, since all, or nearly all, of the
    old ones die before the young ones have grown old enough
    to spawn. If such a state of affairs exists, of course any
    sudden catastrophe, such as a great and cold storm during the
    winter, or the covering of the water where they lie for a long
    period with a sheet of ice, happening to kill all the tender
    young (and old ones, too, often) in a particular district,
    will exterminate the breed there; since, even if the older
    and tougher ones survive this shock, they will not live long
    enough, or at any rate, will be unable to spawn again, and so
    start a new generation.[10]

The set of young scallops is abundant in shallow water upon the
eel-grass flats, which often, as is the case of the Common Flats at
Chatham, are exposed at extremely low tides. A severe winter often
kills off all the "seed" thus exposed. In this case no spawn is
obtained the following summer, causing the suppression of the scallop
fishery in that locality for at least a few years, and possibly its
permanent extinction.

III. _Improvement; restocking Barren Areas._--The scallop industry,
unlike the clam and quahaug, offers but little inducement to private
enterprise. For successful private culture small bays or coves would be
needed, and suitable areas are very scarce. The scallop offers better
opportunity for communal culture, _i.e._, by towns.

There is but one way now known of artificial propagation for the
scallop industry, and that is by transplanting in the fall the abundant
set from the exposed places to the deeper water before the seed is
killed by the winter. It is merely assisting nature by preventing a
natural loss, and in no sense can properly be termed propagation. It
is merely a preventive, and money used in this way to preserve the
scallops is well expended. Usually the set is abundant, and can be
transferred in large numbers. This is the only practical method now
known of increasing our scallop supply, though it is hoped in the
future that other methods may be devised.

In connection with the above comes the question, if we can thus
preserve scallops doomed to destruction, will it not be profitable
to transplant scallops to places where the scalloping has been
exterminated by various causes, and by means of these "seeders" furnish
succeeding generations which may populate the barren areas? This plan
is practical and feasible, and should be given due consideration. Why
should not scallops be transplanted to our Buzzards Bay harbors, to
again restock these areas? Often the attempt might fail, but there is
bound to be success if there is perseverance. The best time to plant
these scallops is in the fall, as a double service will be given: (1)
preservation from destruction of the seed scallops; (2) furnishing
spawn and young in the barren locality. Ingersoll speaks of the
restocking of Oyster Bay in 1880:--

    In the spring of 1880 eel grass came into the bay, bringing
    young scallops [the eel grass carries the scallops attached to
    it by the thread-like byssus]; thus the abundance of that year
    was accounted for, though there had not been a crop before in
    that bay since 1874.

If such a restocking can be accomplished by nature, it can be done with
more certain effect with man's assistance.

_The Industry._

I. _The Methods._--The methods of scalloping follow the historical
rise of the fishery. As the industry grew more and more important,
improvements became necessary in the methods of capture, and thus,
parallel with the development of the industry, we can trace a
corresponding development in the implements used in the capture of the

(_a_) _Gathering by Hand._--When the scallop was first used as an
article of food, the primitive method of gathering this bivalve by hand
was used. This method still exists on the flats of Brewster, and often
in other localities after heavy gales wagons can be driven to the beach
and loaded with the scallops which have been blown ashore.

(_b_) _Scoop Nets._--This hand method was not rapid enough for the
enterprising scallopers, and the next step in the industry was the
use of scoop nets, about 8 inches in diameter, by which the scallops
could be picked up in the water. These nets were attached to poles
of various lengths, suitable to the depth of water. "This method,"
writes Ingersoll, "was speedily condemned, however, because it could be
employed only where scallops are a foot thick and inches in length, as
one fisherman expressed it."

(_c_) _The Pusher._--The next invention was the so-called "pusher." The
"pusher" consists of a wooden pole from 8 to 9 feet long, attached to
a rectangular iron frame 3 by 1½ feet, upon which is fitted a netting
bag 3 feet in depth. The scalloper, wading on the flats at low tide,
gathers the scallops by shoving the "pusher" among the eel grass. When
the bag is full, the contents are emptied into the dory and the process
repeated. The scallopers who use the "pusher" go in dories, which are
taken to the various parts of the scalloping ground and moved whenever
the immediate locality is exhausted. This method is in use to-day,
but is applicable only to shallow flats, and can be worked only at
low tide, where dredging is impossible. It is hard work, and not as
profitable as the better method of dredging. This method of scalloping
is used chiefly at Chatham, Dennis and Yarmouth; occasionally it is
used at Nantucket and other towns.

(_d_) _Dredging._--The greater part of the scallop catch is taken by
dredging, which is the most universal as well as the most profitable
method. The dredge, commonly pronounced "drudge," consists of an iron
framework about 3 by 1½ feet, with a netting bag attached, which will
hold from one to two bushels of scallops. Cat boats, carrying from 6 to
10 dredges, are used for this method of scalloping. These boats, with
several "reefs," cross the scallop grounds pulling the dredges, which
hold the boat steady in her course. A single run with all the dredges
overboard is called a "drift." The contents of all the dredges is said
to be the result or catch of the "drift."

When the dredges are hauled in they are emptied on what is known as
a culling board. This board runs the width of the boat, projecting
slightly on both sides. It is 3 feet wide, and has a guide 3 inches
high along each side, leaving the ends open. The scallops are then
separated from the rubbish, such as seaweed, shells, mud, etc., while
the refuse and seed scallops are thrown overboard by merely pushing
them off the end of the board. Each catch is culled out while the
dredges are being pulled along on the back "drift," and the board is
again clear for the next catch. The culled scallops are first put in
buckets and later transferred either to bushel bags or dumped into the
cockpit of the boat.

Two men are usually required to tend from 6 to 8 dredges in a large
cat boat, but often one man alone does all the work. This seems to be
confined to localities, as at Nantucket nearly all the cat boats have
two men. At Edgartown the reverse is true, one man to the boat, though
in power dredging two men are always used.

Several styles of dredges are used in scalloping, as each locality has
its own special kind, which is best adapted to the scalloping bottom of
that region. Four different styles are used in Massachusetts, two of
which permit a subdivision, making in all six different forms. Each of
these dredges is said by the scallopers using them to be the best; but
for all-round work the "scraper" seems the most popular.

(1) _The Chatham or Box Dredge._--As this dredge was first used in
Chatham, the name of the town was given to it, to distinguish it from
the other styles. At the present time its use is confined to Chatham
and the neighboring towns of the Cape. With the exception of a very few
used at Nantucket, it is not found elsewhere in Massachusetts.

The style of the box dredge is peculiar, consisting of a rectangular
framework, 27 by 12 inches, of flat iron 1 by ¼ inches, with an
oval-shaped iron bar extending back as a support for the netting
bag, which is attached to the rectangular frame. To the side of the
rectangular frame is attached a heavy iron chain about 4 feet long, to
which is fastened the drag rope.

(2) _The Scraper._--As can be seen by the illustration, this style of
dredge consists of a rigid iron frame of triangular shape, which has a
curve of nearly 90° at the base, to form the bowl of the dredge. Above,
a raised cross bar connects the two arms, while at the bottom of the
dredge a strip of iron 2 inches wide extends from arm to arm. This
strip acts as a scraping blade, and is set at an angle so as to dig
into the bottom. The top of the net is fastened to the raised cross bar
and the lower part to the blade.

The usual dimensions of the dredge are: arms, 2½ feet; upper cross bar,
2 feet; blade, 2½ feet. The net varies in size, usually holding about a
bushel of scallops, and running from 2 to 3 feet in length. Additional
weights can be put on the cross bar when the scalloper desires the
dredge to scrape deeper. A wooden bar, 2 feet long, buoys the net.

Two styles of this dredge are in use. At Nantucket the whole net is
made of twine, while at Edgartown and in Buzzards Bay the lower part of
the net is formed of a netting of iron rings, the upper half of the net
being twine. The iron rings are supposed to stand the wear better than
the twine netting. This difference seems to be merely a matter of local
choice. The "scraper" is perhaps the dredge most generally used, as, no
matter what style is in use, a scalloper generally has a few "scrapers"
among his dredges.

(3) _The "Slider."_--The principle of the "slider" is the reverse of
the "scraper," as the blade is set either level or with an upward
incline, so the dredge can slide over the bottom. This dredge is used
on rough bottom and in places where there is little eel-grass. In some
dredges the blade is rigid, but in the majority the blade hangs loose.

The "slider" used at Edgartown differs from the "scraper" by having
perfectly straight arms and no curved bowl, the blade being fastened
to the arms in a hook-and-eye fashion. The dimensions of this dredge
are the same as those of the "scraper," although occasionally smaller
dredges are found.

(4) _The "Roller" Dredge._--This style of dredge is used only in
the town of Mattapoisett, where the scallopers claim it is the most
successful. The dredge is suitable for scalloping over rough ground, as
the blade of the dredge is merely a line of leads, which roll over the
surface of the ground gathering in the scallops.

The dredge consists of an oval iron frame, 32 by 20 inches, which acts
as the arms, and is attached to another iron frame, 32 by 3 inches. The
blade of the dredge consists of a thin rope with attached leads. The
net is made wholly of twine, and is about 2½ feet long.

_Scalloping with Power Boats._--The season of 1907 has witnessed in
Massachusetts the first use of auxiliary power in the scallop fishery.
At Edgartown the main part of the scalloping is now done by power,
which, in spite of the additional expense of 5 gallons of gasolene per
day, gives a proportionately larger catch of scallops. The Edgartown
scallopers claim that their daily catch, using power, is from one-third
to one-half better than under the old method of dredging by sail.
Not only can they scallop when the wind is too light or too heavy
for successful scalloping by sail, but more "drifts" can be made in
the same time. A slight disadvantage of scalloping with power is the
necessity of having two men, as the steering of the power boat demands
much closer attention than the sail boat, which is practically held to
a fixed course by the dredges. A power boat for scalloping possesses
only the disadvantage of additional cost; but it is only necessary
to look forward a few years, when expedition rather than cheapness
will be in demand, to a partial revolution in the present methods of
scalloping, whereby the auxiliary cat boat will take the place of the
sail boat in the scallop fishery.

II. _Preparing the Scallop for Market._ (1) _The "Eye."_--The edible
part of the scallop is the large adductor muscle. The rest of the
animal is thrown away, though in certain localities it is used as fish
bait and in others for fertilizer. Why the whole of the animal is not
eaten is hard to say. Undoubtedly all is good, but popular prejudice,
which molds opinion, has decreed that it is bad, so it is not used as
food. This is perhaps due to the highly pigmented and colored portions
of the animal. Nevertheless, there is a decided possibility that in
the future we shall eat the entire scallop, as well as the luscious
adductor muscle.

The adductor muscle is called by the dealers and fishermen the "eye," a
name given perhaps from its important position in the animal, and its
appearance. The color of the "eye," which has a cylindrical form, is a
yellowish white.

(2) _The Shanties._--The catch of scallops is carried to the shanty of
the fisherman, and there opened. These shanties are usually grouped
on the dock, so the catch can be readily transferred. Inside of these
shanties, usually 20 by 10 feet or larger, we find a large bench 3 to
3½ feet wide, running the length of the shanty, and a little more than
waist high. On these benches the scallops are dumped from the baskets
or bags, and pass through the hands of the openers. Under the bench are
barrels for the shells and refuse.

(3) _The Openers._--The openers are usually men and boys, though
occasionally a few women try their hand at the work. Of late years
there has been a difficulty in obtaining sufficient openers, and the
scallopers often are forced to open their own scallops. The openers
are paid from 20 to 30 cents per gallon, according to the size of the
scallops. One bushel of average scallops will open 2½ to 3 quarts of
"eyes." An opener can often open 8 to 10 gallons in a day, making an
excellent day's work. The price now paid is more than double that paid
in 1880, which was 12½ cents per gallon. Some openers are especially
rapid, and their deft movements cause a continual dropping of shells in
the barrel and "eyes" in the gallon measure.

(4) _Method of opening the Scallop._--The opening of a scallop requires
three movements. A flat piece of steel with a sharp but rounded end,
inserted in a wooden handle, answers for a knife. The scallop is taken
by a right-handed opener in the palm of the left hand, the hinge
line farthest away from the body, the scallop in its natural resting
position, the right or smooth valve down. The knife is inserted between
the valves on the right-hand side. An upward turn with a cutting motion
is given, severing the "eye" from the upper valve, while a flirt at the
same moment throws back the upper shell. The second motion tears the
soft rim and visceral mass of the scallop and casts it into the barrel,
leaving the "eye" standing clear. A third movement separates the "eye"
from the shell and casts it into a gallon measure. Frequently the last
two movements are slightly different. The faster openers at the second
motion merely tear off enough of the rim to allow the separation of the
"eye" from the shell, and on the third movement cast the "eye" in the
measure, while the shell with its adhering soft parts is thrown into
the refuse barrel. These last two motions can hardly be separated, so
quickly are they accomplished.

(5) _"Soaking."_--The "eye" is then usually put through the following
course of treatment before marketing; the treatment is what is
familiarly known as "soaking." It has been noticed that whenever salt
water products are allowed to soak in fresh water, an increase of bulk
is found. This is due to a change, called osmosis, which causes the
swelling of the tissues. The "eye" can be increased, by the process
of osmosis, to a gain of more than one-third its natural size; that
is, 4½ gallons of scallop "eyes" can be increased to 7 gallons by
judicious "feeding" with fresh water. Also, a change has taken place
in the scallops after a few hours' soaking. No longer do we find the
poor yellow-colored small "eye" of the freshly opened scallop, but a
beautiful white, plump "eye," which at once tempts the purchaser. While
these changes have added to the salable properties of the scallop by
beautifying its appearance and increasing its size, the scallop has
lost much of its sweet flavor and freshness.

Practically every scallop sold in the markets or shipped from any
scalloping center is soaked, as the "soaking," if not already done
by the fishermen, is administered by the retail dealers. There
are scallopers who are ready to ship the unsoaked scallops at a
proportionate price the moment the market demands them; but the
consumer, through ignorance, demands the large, nice-appearing "eyes,"
and thus unwittingly favors the practice. However, as long as pure
water is used and other sanitary precautions taken, no actual harm may
arise from soaking scallops.

Two methods of swelling scallops are in use. When the scallops are
shipped in kegs, which usually contain 7 gallons, the following method
is applied: 4½ to 5 gallons of "eyes" are placed in each keg, and are
allowed to stand over night in fresh water; in the morning before
shipment more water is added and the keg closed, and by the time of
arrival to the New York or Boston market the scallops have increased to
the full amount of 7 gallons.

The second method of "soaking" is slightly more elaborate. The eyes are
spread evenly in shallow wooden sinks 5 by 3 feet, with just enough
fresh water to cover them, and left over night. In the morning a milky
fluid is drawn off, and the "soaked" scallops are packed for market in
kegs or butter tubs.

(6) _Shipment._--The kegs in which the scallops are shipped cost 30
cents apiece, and contain about 7 gallons. A full keg is known as a
"package." The butter tubs are less expensive, but hold only 4 to 5
gallons. Indeed, anything which will hold scallops for shipment is used
to send them to market.

When the scallops get to the market they are strained and weighed, 9
pounds being considered the weight of a gallon of meats. In this way
about 6 gallons are realized from every 7-gallon keg. With the improved
methods of modern times scallops can be shipped far west or be held
for months in cold storage, for which purpose unsoaked scallops are
required. Certain firms have tried this method of keeping the catch
until prices were high, but it has not been especially successful.

(7) _Market._--One of the greatest trials to the scallop fisherman is
the uncertainty of market returns when shipping. He does not know the
price he is to receive; and, as the price depends on the supply on the
market, he may receive high wages or he may get scarcely anything. The
wholesale market alone can regulate the price, and the fisherman is
powerless. While this is hard on the scalloper, it does not appear that
at the present time anything can be done to remedy the uncertainty of
return. The scallop returns from the New York market are usually higher
than from the Boston market. The result of this has been to give New
York each year the greater part of the scallop trade, and practically
all the Nantucket and Edgartown scallops are shipped to New York.

Either from a feeling of loyalty, or because the market returns are
sooner forwarded, or because the express charges are less, Cape Cod
still ships to the Boston market, in spite of the better prices offered
in New York. Why so many Cape scallopers should continue to ship to
Boston, and resist the attractions of better prices, is impossible to
determine, and appears to be only a question of custom.

(8) _The Price._--The price of scallops varies with the supply. The
demand is fairly constant, showing a slight but decided increase each
year. On the other hand, the supply is irregular, some years scallops
being plentiful, in other years scarce.

_The Maine or Deep-sea Scallop._--In the Boston market the
shallow-water scallop has a formidable rival in the giant scallop of
the Maine coast, which is nearly twice as large. Nevertheless, the Cape
scallop maintains its superiority and still leads its larger brother in
popular favor, wholesaling at 50 to 70 cents more a gallon. There is no
doubt that this competition has had a tendency to lower the price of
the Cape scallop, possibly accounting for the higher market price in
New York.

_Outfit of a Scalloper._--While we have traced the scallop from its
capture among the eel-grass to its final disposition, we have not
considered the equipment of the scalloper. The average capital invested
in the business can best be summed up under these two heads,--the boat
fisherman and the dory fisherman.

                   _Boat Fisherman._
  Boat,                                       $500.00
  Dory,                                         20.00
  Six dredges,                                  25.00
  Rope and gear,                                25.00
  Culling board,                                 2.00
  Incidentals,                                   3.00
  Shanty,                                       50.00
     Total,                                   $625.00
                   _Dory Fisherman._
  Dory,                                        $20.00
  Oars,                                          1.50
  Pusher,                                        2.50
  Shanty,                                       25.00
    Total,                                     $49.00

III. _The Scallop Season._--There is considerable diversity of opinion
among the scallopers as to when the scallop season should open. Some
advocate November 1 as the opening date, instead of October 1, as the
present law reads; and many arguments are put forth by both sides.

The class of fishermen who desire November 1 are those who are engaged
in other fishing during the month of October, and either have to give
it up or lose the first month of scalloping. Naturally, they wish a
change, putting forth the additional argument of better prices if the
season begins later. The scalloper who is not engaged in other fishing
of course desires the law to remain as it is at the present time,
claiming that the better weather of October gives easier work, more
working days, and allows no chance of loss if the winter is severe.

Under the present law, the town can regulate the opening of its season
to suit the demands of the market and the desire of the inhabitants.
This does away with the necessity of any State law on this point,
which, under the present system of town control, would be inadvisable.

The general opinion of the fishermen is in favor of the present date,
October 1. As nearly as could be determined, about 75 per cent. favor
October 1 and 25 per cent. November 1. This sentiment is divided by
localities, as more men were in favor of November 1 at Nantucket and
Edgartown than on Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay, where very few favored a

IV. _The Utilization of Waste._--While it seems an enormous waste that
out of a bushel of scallops only 2½ to 3 quarts of edible meats are
obtained, it is not all absolute loss. Oyster growers buy the shells
for cultch to catch the oyster seed, paying from 3 to 5 cents per
bushel. Other uses are found, such as ornaments and in making shell
roads. The refuse is used for fish bait, and often barrels of it are
salted for this purpose. It is also used in some places for manure for
agricultural purposes.

In the last year a new use for scallop shells has developed. Similar to
the souvenir postal card, scallop shells bound together with ribbon
and containing miniature photographic views have been put on the
market. Three firms near Boston make a business of this, and use only
the lower or bright valve of the scallop. Certain scallopers furnish
these scallop shells, cleaned of meat, at the rate of $6 per barrel;
and, though it takes considerable time to separate the shells when
opening, the excellent price makes this new industry pay. The question
of the future is to find new and more important uses for our waste sea
products. Some day what is now waste in the scallop industry may be
utilized for the benefit of the public.

V. _Food Value._--As a food the scallop stands ahead of all the other
shellfish, containing much more nourishment than the oyster. The
following figures are from the tables of Professor Atwater, rearranged
by C. F. Langworthy:[11]--

                  (All values expressed as per cent.)

                                | Refuse, | Salt | Water | Protein | Fat
                                | Bone,   |      |       |         |
                                | Skin,   |      |       |         |
                                |  etc.   |      |       |         |
  Oysters, solids,              |      -- |   -- |  88.3 |     6.1 | 1.4
  Oysters, in shell,            |    82.3 |   -- |  15.4 |     1.1 |  .2
  Oysters, canned,              |      -- |   -- |  85.3 |     7.4 | 2.1
  Scallops,                     |      -- |   -- |  80.3 |    14.7 |  .2
  Soft clams, in shell,         |    43.6 |   -- |  48.4 |     4.8 |  .6
  Soft clams, canned,           |      -- |   -- |  84.5 |     9.0 | 1.3
  Quahaugs, removed from shell, |      -- |   -- |  80.8 |    10.6 | 1.1
  Quahaugs, in shell,           |    68.3 |   -- |  27.3 |     2.1 |  .1
  Quahaugs, canned,             |      -- |   -- |  83.0 |    10.4 |  .8
  Mussels,                      |    49.3 |   -- |  42.7 |     4.4 |  .5
  General average of mollusks   |    60.2 |   -- |  34.0 |     3.2 |  .4
    (exclusive of canned).      |         |      |       |         |

                  (All values expressed as per cent.)

                                |Carbohy- | Mineral | Total     | Fuel
                                | drates  | Matter  | Nutrients | Value
                                |         |         |           | per
                                |         |         |           | Pound
  Oysters, solids,              |     3.3 |      .9 |      11.7 |  235
  Oysters, in shell,            |      .6 |      .4 |       2.3 |   40
  Oysters, canned,              |     3.9 |     1.3 |      14.7 |  300
  Scallops,                     |     3.4 |     1.4 |      19.7 |  345
  Soft clams, in shell,         |     1.1 |     1.5 |       8.0 |  135
  Soft clams, canned,           |     2.9 |     2.3 |      15.5 |  275
  Quahaugs, removed from shell, |     5.2 |     2.3 |      19.2 |  340
  Quahaugs, in shell,           |     1.3 |      .9 |       4.4 |   65
  Quahaugs, canned,             |     3.0 |     2.8 |      17.0 |  285
  Mussels,                      |     2.1 |     1.0 |       8.0 |  140
  General average of mollusks   |     1.3 |      .9 |       5.8 |  100
    (exclusive of canned).      |         |         |           |

_The Laws._

The State laws regulating the fishery were made for the benefit of the
industry and for the preservation of the "seed" scallop, which is the
only requirement necessary for insuring the future supply.

Each town has charge over its scallop fishery, under the general
shellfish act of 1880, which entrusted all regulation of the
shellfisheries to the selectmen of the towns. The town laws governing
the scallop fishery are by far the most satisfactory of the shellfish
laws of the towns. Although in many respects beneficial, they have
certain disadvantages.

The main disadvantage of the town laws is found in the jealousy of
neighboring towns. One town may make a law to oppose another town, and
will often injure its own interests thereby. In this connection the
condition at Dennis, during the winter of 1904-05, was an instance. As
scallops were remarkably abundant, the town made by-laws intended to
exclude from its scallop fisheries the residents of other towns. At
the close of the scalloping season, when the ice came, the scallops
were still abundant. The inhabitants of the town thought they could
get the rest next season. They did not know that the scallop does not
live two years. The next year not a single scallop of that set was to
be found; they had died. If other scallopers had been allowed to go
there, thousands of dollars could have been saved, and many scallopers
given employment. This one case illustrates the disadvantages of town
jealousy; and Dennis is by no means to blame, as it merely protected
itself against the similar restrictions of neighboring Cape Cod towns.

The town laws which benefit the scallop industry are made each year
according to the condition of the industry. Edgartown and Nantucket
have perhaps the best-governed scallop industries. Laws requiring
licenses, regulating the opening of the season and restricting at
proper times the catch, so as to get the best market prices instead of
overstocking the market when the prices are low, are to be recommended
on account of their benefit to the scallopers.


In considering the rise of a fishing industry, it is often difficult
to state exactly the year when the industry started, as there are
differences of opinion as to how large a fishery should be before it
could be justly considered an industry. The scallop fishery has existed
for years, but did not become an established industry of the State
before the year 1872. At that time there was hardly any demand for
scallops, and the catch was with difficulty marketed. Since then the
market demand for the scallop has steadily increased, until the supply
can hardly meet the popular demand. It seems almost incredible that
the scallop as an article of food should once have been scorned and
practically unknown.

During the years of 1876 and 1877 the industry took a sudden spurt. At
this time the introduction of the dredge on Cape Cod revolutionized
the industry, and made it possible to open up the deep-water fields.
The industry on Cape Cod first started at Hyannis, where a number of
men entered the new business; and for several years the production
increased rapidly, with the opening of new territories and improved
methods of capture. While the natural supply has remained the same or
declined in certain localities, as has been shown in a previous part of
this report, the value of the industry, in regard to the number of men
engaged and capital invested, has steadily increased.


         YEAR.       |  Bushels. |   Value. |  Gallons. |    Price
                     |           |          |           |  per Gallon.
  1879,              |    10,542 |   $3,514 |     7,028 |        $0.50
  1887,              |    41,964 |   38,933 |    27,976 |         1.39
  1888,              |    26,168 |   43,202 |    17,446 |         2.48
  1898,              |   128,863 |   85,383 |    85,908 |         0.99
  1902,              |    66,150 |   89,982 |    44,100 |         2.04
  1905,              |    43,872 |   98,712 |    29,248 |         3.37½

These figures show that the price of scallops varies greatly, dependent
largely upon the amount caught that season; also that there has been,
in spite of the irregularity of the catch, a gradual rise in prices
since 1879, due to a more extensive market.

In considering the scallop industry the following points should be
noted: (1) It has been necessary to record as scallop area any grounds
where scallops have ever been found, in spite of the fact that only a
portion of this total area is in any one year productive. (2) The boats
engaged in the scallop fishery are but transitory capital, which is
utilized, outside of the scallop season, in other fisheries. (3) The
quahaug and scallop fisheries in many towns supplement each other, as
the same men and boats are engaged in both industries. (4) The length
of the season varies in the different localities. In New Bedford and
Fairhaven the scallops are mostly caught in a few weeks, as many boats
enter the business temporarily. This necessarily gives an excess of
invested capital and a small production. In these two towns the number
of scallop licenses are recorded as showing the number of men engaged
in the fishery, while as a fact but a small part of these are steadily
engaged in the industry.

    Key: N= Number

              |Number| Boats      |  Extra   | Value |   Production   |Area of
              |  of  |            |  Dories  |  of   |    1907-08     |Scallop
      TOWN    | Men  +---+--------+---+------+  Gear +-------+--------+Grounds
              |      | N | Value  | N |Value |       |Gallons| Value  |(Acres)
  Barnstable  | 39   | 23|  $8,000|  -|     -|   $575|  1,530|  $2,004|  2,800
  Bourne      | 38   | 30|  15,000|  -|     -|  1,200| 12,000|  15,720|  3,000
  Chatham     |107   | 35|  10,650| 61|$1,430|  1,185| 34,615|  45,345|  2,000
  Dennis      | 30   |  9|   4,230|  9|   180|    368|  2,950|   3,865|  2,250
  Edgartown   | 39   | 26|   8,000|  -|     -|    550| 17,000|  22,270|  2,000
  Fairhaven   |73[13]| 50|  12,500|  -|     -|  1,500|  1,300|   1,703|  2,500
  Harwich     | 12   |  7|   2,350|  -|     -|    280|  2,170|   2,843|  3,200
  Marion      | 44   | 16|   5,300| 24|   250|    580|  7,000|   9,170|  1,500
  Mattapoisett| 22   | 19|   6,900|  -|     -|    760|  5,000|   6,550|  1,200
  Nantucket   | 99   | 47|  13,250| 20|   500|    700| 20,245|  26,539|  4,500
  New Bedford |38[13]| 20|   5,000|  -|     -|    600|    700|     917|    400
  Tisbury     | 20   |  8|   3,000|  6|    90|    300|  3,000|   3,930|    800
  Wareham     | 45   | 36|  10,800|  -|     -|  1,300| 10,000|  13,100|  2,500
  Yarmouth    | 41   | 15|   3,750| 10|   200|    475|  8,000|  10,480|  2,250
     Total    | 647  |341|$108,730|130|$2,650|$10,373|125,510|$164,436| 30,900


The principal scalloping grounds of the town of Barnstable are found in
Hyannis bay and at Cotuit. Scallops are said to have once been abundant
in Barnstable harbor, on the north side of Cape Cod. At the present day
the scallop is unknown commercially in this locality, and few are found
on the sand flats of the harbor. A. Howard Clark, in his report on the
fisheries of Massachusetts, in 1880, makes the following statement
concerning this industry in Barnstable harbor:--

    Scallops are abundant along the shores of the harbor, and
    in 1876 a party of men from Hyannis established themselves
    here for the purpose of gathering them. In 1877 the price of
    scallops declined very greatly, forcing these men to abandon
    their enterprise. The fishery was continued, however, by two
    men of Barnstable. In the winter of 1877-78 the latter shipped
    40 half-barrels of "eyes," and during the winter of 1878-79
    only 6 half-barrels. They were sent to Boston and New York.

This furnishes a concrete example of the extinction of the productive
scallop beds in certain localities. The chances are that a severe
winter or other adverse physical conditions killed all the scallops
in the harbor, and rendered impossible any future supply. Although
Barnstable harbor, with its swift tides, is not suitable for scallops
in all parts, yet there are certain localities where they should
thrive. In no way is it visionary or impossible that by the proper
transplanting of young scallops from the waters on the south side of
the Cape, these "seeders" might furnish other generations of scallops,
and revive an extinct industry. At any rate, the chances for success in
this line look favorable, and should be carefully considered.

_Hyannis._--Although the scallop industry on the north coast of the
town is extinct, it still flourishes as of old on the south coast. The
bulk of the business is carried on here, and nearly all the shipments
are made from this town. The scallop territory comprises 2,700 acres,
in the following localities: (1) Lewis Bay; (2) near Squaw's Island;
(3) Hyannisport harbor; and (4) the shore waters. At Hyannisport small
scallops are taken with "pushers" in the shallow water, while large
scallops are taken by dredging in the other three localities. Scallops
are found in different parts and in varying abundance each year.
Practically all this territory as outlined on the map is suitable for

Two methods of scalloping are in use at Hyannis: (1) the hand "pusher,"
used in shallow water, especially in the harbor at Hyannisport; (2)
dredging. These two methods cover different territories, and it is
possible that one year scallops may be found only on the flats where
it was impossible to dredge with a boat, and another year be all in
the deep water where the "pusher" cannot be used. However, in most
years both methods are in use. The dredge most commonly used is the
"scraper," although the Chatham style is found here. Six to nine are
carried by each boat.

Hyannis claims the distinction of shipping the first Cape Cod scallops
to market. This was in 1874, and was the start of a considerable
industry which employed 80 men. There has been more or less scalloping
ever since that time. Ernest Ingersoll, in his report on the scallop
fishery of the United States, in 1880, says in reference to scallop
fishing at Hyannis from 1876 to 1878:--

    The most northerly locality at which such a fishery exists,
    as far as I am informed, is at Hyannis, Mass., and during
    the winter of 1877 many persons of all ages and conditions
    were employed in it there. One firm fitted up a large house
    expressly for the business, and employed a large number of
    openers. Skiffs, cat-rigged yawl boats, dories and punts, 200
    in number, and of every size, shape, form and color, were used;
    most of them were flat bottomed, shaped like a flatiron, and
    therefore very "tender" when afloat. Each boat carried two
    dredges, locally termed "drags." In that year, according to Mr.
    F. W. True, each of the 200 boats averaged 120 bushels, or 100
    gallons, during the season, which would give a total of 24,000
    bushels, or 20,000 gallons for the fleet. The scallops were
    sent to New York and also to Boston, and an average price of
    $5 per half-barrel was received. In 1876 the price was $7, and
    in 1878 only $3.50. Further inquiries show that this spurt at
    Hyannis had no precedent, and has completely died away, so that
    at present there is no catch there, or at least no shipments.

The 1904-05 fishery was very successful, while the season of 1905-06
proved the reverse. The production for 1905-06 was 1,350 gallons,
valued at $3,200; while the 1906-07 season furnished 1,000 gallons,
worth $2,000. The following notes, made in November, 1905, give the
situation of the industry for that year:--

The scalloping areas this season have been at Squaw's Island and in
Lewis Bay, the first locality furnishing the better fishing. By the
middle of November both areas were practically exhausted and the
season over. The production to November 12 was 900 gallons. After that
time the shipments to the Boston and New York markets were small and
irregular, in spite of the high price of $3 to $3.50 per gallon.

_Cotuit._--In the report of Mr. Ingersoll we find no mention of
scalloping at Cotuit. Either there was none in 1879, or it was too
small to be of any importance. To-day the scalloping is of slight
importance, and practically all is used for home trade. Undoubtedly
there has been but little change in the past twenty-five years. Side
by side with the pigmy scallop industry has grown the oyster industry,
which has made Cotuit famous. Undoubtedly the latter has sapped the
strength of the former by encroaching on its area; but it has always
been for the best interests of the people, as the oyster industry here
is far more valuable than the scallop fishery.

The grounds of Cotuit are quite small, extending over an irregular
strip of 100 acres. The bottom is mostly muddy, and covered with
patches of eel grass. All the rest of the bay, where the bottom is
more suited for oyster culture, is taken up by grants. This scalloping
area, although small, is free to the scallopers of Osterville, Cotuit,
Marston's Mills and Hyannis, and even where heavily set it is soon
fished out.

In the years previous to 1904-05 exceptionally fine scalloping had been
reported by the fishermen. The season of 1904-05 was exceptionally
poor, and in 1905-06 hardly any scallops were obtainable. In 1907
scalloping began October 1, and by December 15 all the boats were
hauled up, as the scallops became too scarce for profitable fishing.
Dredging is the only important method employed in the Cotuit fishery,
although a few scallops were picked up on the flats.

A town law forbidding the capture of scallops for market before
December 1 was passed in 1899. This, nevertheless, permitted any
resident of Barnstable, between October 1 and December 1, to catch
scallops for his family use, and for this reason could never be
strictly enforced. In 1907 this law was repealed, as many believed that
it was detrimental rather than helpful to the Cotuit interests, as it
gave the Hyannis scallopers, after they had fished for two months in
Hyannis Bay, the cream of the Cotuit fishery.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

              | Number|      BOATS.     | Value | PRODUCTION, 1907-08.
     TOWN.    |   of  +--------+--------+  of   +----------+-----------
              |  Men. | Value. | Number.| Gear. | Gallons. |  Value.
  Hyannis,    |   16  | $3,200 |    8   | $200  |    1,130 |  $1,480
  Hyannisport,|   14  |  2,800 |    7   |  200  |      100 |     131
  Cotuit,     |    9  |  2,000 |    8   |  175  |      300 |     393
      Total,  |   39  | $8,000 |   23   | $575  |    1,530 |  $2,004


The villages of Buzzards Bay, Monument Beach and Cataumet share the
scallop fishery of the town of Bourne, and have had during 1907-08 a
successful season for the first time in eight years.

The available scallop territory of the town covers approximately 3,000
acres, extending from Buttermilk Bay along the whole coast of the town
to Cataumet.

The fishing is mostly done by dredging with cat boats, carrying from
six to ten dredges per boat, although a few scallopers dredge with
power. The dredges are generally of the "scraper" type, with the chain
bottom, similar to the dredges used at Edgartown. The scallopers both
open their own catch and hire openers to assist them. Thirty boats, 8
carrying 2 men, and 22 with 1 man, totalling 38 men, are employed in
the scallop fishery.

The industry lasted until Jan. 1, 1908, when the boats were hauled up
for winter. The total estimate for the season is 20,000 bushels, or
12,000 gallons (unsoaked), valued at $15,720. The largest daily catch
recorded for one boat was 72 bushels.

The principal market is New York, though part of the catch is sent
to New Bedford. The price varied from $1.15 to $3 per gallon. The
scallopers claim that they do not soak the scallops, as the "eye" is
large enough to sell well without increasing its size. Undoubtedly
soaking is done to some extent. The scallops are large, opening about
3½ quarts per bushel.

Twelve hundred dollars are invested in gear and $15,000 in boats, which
vary from $300 to $1,300 in value.

Licenses costing $1 are required by the selectmen of every scalloper.

Here again we find the old tale of the decline of a once prosperous
industry, and new enthusiasm in the success of the 1907-08 season. The
1906-07 season was an improvement over the previous one, when eight
licenses were issued, allowing a maximum of 1,605 bushels to be taken.
In previous years no licenses were given, as there were no scallops.


Scalloping at Brewster can hardly be called an industry. Here the
primitive method of picking up the scallops on the exposed flats at
low tide is alone used. The scallops are washed by the heavy seas on
the flats, and can be gathered by men, women and children when the
tide goes down. Somewhere in the deeper water is a bed of scallops,
but in 1905 no one had been able to locate it. In 1905 only one man
made a business of gathering and shipping these scallops. He averaged 2
bushels per tide, going down with a team and carting them to his house,
where he opened them. All shipments were made to Boston, at an average
price of $1.75 to $2. The people pick up many for home use.


The town of Chatham, situated at the elbow of Cape Cod, possesses
abundant facilities for all the shore fisheries. For the past
twenty-five years the scallop fishery has held almost equal rank with
the lobster and cod fisheries, for which Chatham is noted, and has in
many years furnished employment when other fishing had failed.

Scallops are found only in the southern waters of the town. Between
Inward Point and Harding's Beach many acres of eel-grass flats,
sheltered from the open ocean by Monomoy Island, furnish excellent
grounds for scallops. The entire area of these grounds is approximately
2,000 acres, although this whole territory is never completely stocked
in any one year. During the season of 1907-08 the following places
constituted the scalloping grounds:--

(1) Island Flats in Stage Harbor, on the east side of the channel,
opposite Harding's Beach, furnished a number of scallops, which were
rapidly caught the first of the season, as these flats were near the
town. Here the water is not more than 1½ to 2 feet deep at low tide,
and thick eel grass covers the greater part except near the channel.
The first of the season a man could obtain 8 bushels per day, but later
a catch of 2 bushels was considered good.

(2) Directly south of Harding's Beach lies John Perry's flat, commonly
known as "Jerry's," where there has been good scalloping for many years.

(3) The western half of the Common Flats furnished the best scalloping
in 1907-08, as the scallops, though small (6 pecks to a gallon), were
plentiful. These flats run nearly dry on low course tides, and are
covered with eel grass. Nearly every year there is a heavy set of
scallop seed, which, because of the exposed nature of the flats, is
wholly or partially destroyed. The entire set was destroyed in the
winter of 1904-05, while 30 per cent. was lost in 1906-07.

(4) On the flats just south of Inward Point was another bed of scallops.

(5) In the bend north of Inward Point scallops were plentiful.

(6) On the northwest edge of the Common Flats scallops can be dredged
over an area of 160 acres at a depth of 5 fathoms. These are of good
size, opening 3½ quarts to the bushel.

Two methods of obtaining scallops are employed: (1) by the use of the
"pusher;" and (2) by dredging. As the "pusher" is used on the flats
at low water where the boats cannot sail, the boat man possesses the
advantage of "pushing" at low tide and dredging at high water. Sixty
per cent. of the scallopers at Chatham go in dories and use "pushers,"
as the Common Flats afford excellent opportunity for this sort of
fishing; the remaining 40 per cent. scallop in boats, using "pushers"
to a limited extent. Four to six box dredges are used for each boat,
the smaller boats carrying four, the larger six.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                  107
      Dory men ("pushers"), 62
      Boat men (dredgers),                         45
  Number of boats,                                 35
      Single-manned,                               26
      Double-manned,                                9
  Value of boats,                             $10,650
  Number of dories,                                61
  Value of dories,                             $1,430
  Value of scallop gear for dories,               135
  Value of scallop gear for boats,              1,050
  Total value of scallop gear,                  1,185

Last season 34,615 gallons, valued at $45,345, were shipped to Boston
and New York. Shipments are made in butter tubs, containing 4 to 6
gallons each.

The larger scallops in the deep water are from 2½ to 2¾ inches in
length, taking 5 pecks to open a gallon of "eyes." On the flats are
smaller scallops, from 2 to 2¼ inches in length, of which 6½ pecks
are required to make a gallon. About 4,000 gallons were bought in
Chatham by two dealers, paying $1.30 per gallon; the rest were shipped
to Boston and New York by the individual scallopers, shipments being
made semiweekly to New York. The scallops were shipped in butter tubs
containing from 4 to 6 gallons, on which the express charges were: to
New York, 65 cents; to Boston, 35 cents. The 1907-08 production was
20,000 gallons, valued at $40,000.

In 1905-06 practically all the catch were "seed" scallops of the set
of 1905; only about 5 per cent. of the catch were scallops of the 1904
set. Owing to the exceptional cod fishing, only 15 men made a business
of scalloping, going mostly one man to a boat, and averaging 3½ bushels
per day after the scalloping "struck in," Dec. 1, 1905. The high prices
alone made it profitable to catch these small scallops, which gave only
3 pints of "eyes" to a bushel of shells,--just one-half the amount
yielded by a bushel of large scallops. The fishermen were all from
South and West Chatham. The entire catch was estimated at 2,800 gallons.


The scallop grounds of Dennis and Yarmouth are common property for the
inhabitants of both towns, while other towns are excluded from the
fishery. The West Dennis scallopers fish mostly on the Yarmouth flats
at the mouth of Parker River, and between Bass and Parker rivers on the
shore flats. There is also scalloping along the shore on the Dennis
grounds. These grounds are for the "pushers." Dredging is carried on at
Dennisport, and the boats cover a wide territory at some distance from
the shore. The town possesses a large area, which either has scattering
scallops or is well stocked one year and barren the next. Nearly 2,250
acres of available territory is included in the waters of the town. The
flats, which are of sand with thick or scattering eel grass, according
to the locality, afford a good bottom for scallops. Were it not for the
eel grass, the scallops would perish by being washed on the shore by
southerly winds.

Thirty men make a business of scalloping in the town of Dennis, 22
from Dennisport and 8 from West Dennis. At Dennisport scalloping is
practically all done by dredging, while at West Dennis scallops are all
taken by the use of "pushers." At Dennisport 9 boats, 3 sail and 6 cat
boats, with power, carrying 18 men, are employed in the business. Here
also are 4 dory scallopers. At West Dennis the scallopers go mostly in
pairs, using only 5 dories.

The dredges used at Dennisport are similar to the Chatham dredge. At
Dennisport the scallopers open the scallops and also employ openers,
while at West Dennis the scallopers do the entire work.

In 1907-08 the production was 2,950 gallons, valued at $3,865.
Scallops were shipped to the New York and Boston markets, although the
greater part of the catch went to New York.

The scallops taken at Dennisport are large, opening 3 quarts to the
bushel. At West Dennis, where the fishing is done in the shallow water,
the scallops are somewhat smaller, yielding only 2½ quarts to the

During the month of November large quantities of scallops were blown
ashore at Dennisport, and it is said that as many as 72 bushels were
gathered by one man in a day.

                           CAPITAL INVESTED.

  Value of boats:--
      Sail,                                    $1,230
      Power,                                    3,000
      Dories,                                     180
          Total,                               $4,410

  Value of gear:--
      Boat,                                       350
      Dory,                                        18
          Total,                                 $368

Permits are required for scalloping, but are issued free of charge by
the selectmen. Dennis and Yarmouth have common scallop fishery rights,
the town scallop regulation reading as follows:--

    All persons other than the inhabitants of the towns of Dennis
    and Yarmouth are prohibited from taking scallops from the
    shores and waters of the town of Yarmouth excepting for their
    family use, and in no case without a permit.

During the season of 1904-05 there existed off Dennisport one of the
largest beds of scallops ever known in Massachusetts. Not only was it
extensive, but the scallops were very numerous. An enormous yield was
the result, affording great profit to a large number of scallopers,
and bringing into the town thousands of dollars. It was stated by the
scallopers that when the scalloping ceased because of the severe winter
and ice the number of scallops appeared in no way diminished. During
the season the catch averaged over 25 bushels per boat. Prospects
looked good for the following season, as the fishermen expected the
scallops to live until the next year. Unfortunately, the life of a
scallop is less than two years, and before spring practically the whole
of this large bed was dead,--a heavy loss to the fishing interests of
the town and of the State.

In cases like this the exclusion of scallopers from the neighboring
towns, through the present system of town laws, has resulted in severe
economic and financial loss to the State, as many more scallops
could have been captured without injury to the future supply if more
fishermen had been given an opportunity to enjoy this fishery.

The following season, 1905-06, presented a marked contrast to that
of 1904-05. Some adverse conditions had injured the set of 1905, and
as a result there were scarcely any adult scallops. By January 1 the
scallops of the 1906 set had become large enough in certain localities
to permit capture. Owing to the high prices, these scallops, less than
eight months old ("seed" scallops), were profitable to catch, and the
season's catch at Dennisport after January 1 consisted of these young
scallops. At that time the present "seed" scallop law was not in force,
so the capture of these scallops was entirely legal.

About 6 men were engaged during 1905-06 in scalloping at Dennisport.
The scallops were obtained by dredging in the deeper water. The average
catch was 3 to 4 bushels per day. The 1906-07 season was hardly above
the average. At West Dennis 8 men were engaged in scalloping on the
flats with "pushers." The scallops were small, averaging about 2 inches
in width. It is only once every three or four years that West Dennis
scallops are in the deep water where it is necessary to dredge them;
usually the scallops are found on the shallow-water flats. The 1907-08
season is the best season the town has had since 1904-05.


A few scallops are occasionally found in Slocum's River and other
places, but in no quantity to furnish any commercial fishery.


The scalloping grounds are on the west side of the town, about half a
mile out. During the season of 1906-07, 6 men, working at intervals
during the winter, managed to take a total of 500 bushels from these


Edgartown, situated at the eastern end of Martha's Vineyard, possesses
extensive scallop grounds, and is one of the leading towns in the
production of this shellfish. This fishery, even more important than
the quahaug industry, furnishes steady winter employment for a large
number of the inhabitants.

The important grounds are in Cape Poge Pond and in Edgartown harbor,
while occasionally beds of scallops, especially "seed," are found in
Katama Bay. These grounds comprise an area of 2,000 acres, chiefly of
grass bottom.

At Edgartown scalloping is done both with sail and with power boats,
which are generally auxiliary cat boats, though power dories are used
to some extent. All but two of the power boats are doubly manned,
while the sail boats carry but one man. Eleven sail and 15 power boats,
employing 39 men, are engaged in the fishery.

Two kinds of dredges are used, the "scraper" for scalloping in the
eel grass and the "slider" for clean surface. The depth of water over
the scallop beds is not more than 18 feet, necessitating 10½ fathoms
of rope. The price of a dredge, including rope, is about $3, which is
cheaper than in the Buzzards Bay towns. Each power boat uses six to
eight, which are held out by "spreaders," poles extending from the
sides of the boat, in order that the dredges may cover more ground and
not trail behind one another.

The greater part of the scalloping is done by power, and, in spite of
the extra cost of nearly 90 cents per day, the proportionate increase
makes this method more profitable; it is claimed to increase the catch
about one-third. Scalloping with power necessitates the services of two
men, as one man has to cull while the other steers. At the end of the
"drift" the boat is stopped, and both men cull. With sail, culling can
be done when dredges are overboard. When two men scallop, the owner of
the boat takes three-fifths while his partner shares two-fifths of the

Twenty-five to 30 openers prepare the scallop for market during the
afternoons and evenings. These are paid at the rate of 25 cents per
gallon, and average about $1.50 per day, a good opener cutting out a
gallon of "eyes" in an hour. Small scallops open 700 "eyes" per gallon;
the larger ones, 500.

The 1907-08 season was successful, as the scallops were plentiful, the
daily catch per boat running between 5 and 50 bushels. About 17,000
gallons, valued at $22,270, were shipped between Oct. 1, 1907, and
April 1, 1908.

Shipments are made mostly to the New York market; a very few to Boston
market. The freight charges on a keg, which weighs about 70 pounds, is
55 cents. In warm weather scallops are sent by express, the charges
being 80 cents. The scallops are packed in butter tubs of large size,
averaging from 6 to 7 gallons, and costing 8 cents apiece. These are
obtained second hand from the grocery stores at New Bedford. The tubs
are packed full and closed tightly. By the time the scallops arrive at
market they are reduced in quantity by the jarring, in warm weather
from 7 to 6 gallons, and in cold from 7 to 6½. Returns from the market
are made in about a week. Scallops can be held back for better prices
three to four days in warm weather, and about seven in cold.

                           CAPITAL INVESTED.

  Value of power boats,                        $5,250
  Value of sail boats,                          2,750
  Value of gear,                                  550
      Total,                                   $8,550

By vote of the town, the season for several years has been open one
month later than the State season. Shellfish permits costing $2 are
required of every scalloper. The daily catch for one man is restricted
to 25 bushels.

Edgartown was one of the pioneer towns in the State in the scallop
fishery, and as early as 1875 scallops were shipped to the market. The
industry has maintained a steady supply, and has not shown the great
variation of the Cape and Buzzards Bay fisheries. This is due perchance
to the natural conditions, which render favorable the maintenance of an
extensive industry.

The last four seasons have been very successful, as when scallops were
scarce the increased price more than made up for the diminished supply.
The 1904-05 season was favorable, but, owing to the severe winter,
fishing ceased about January 1, although scallops were plentiful both
in Cape Poge Pond and Edgartown harbor. In 1905-06 scallops were found
only in Cape Poge Pond, as the previous severe winter had killed all
the harbor "seed." This season was most successful, as Nantucket and
Edgartown, owing to the scarcity of scallops in other localities,
received very high market prices. Scallops were more abundant in
1906-07, but the lower prices made the industry less prosperous than in
the previous season.

              COMPARISON OF 1879 WITH 1907-08 PRODUCTION.

                       | 1879. | 1907-08.
  Gallons,             |  500  |  17,000
  Value,               | $250  | $22,270


Fairhaven possesses, with New Bedford, the scalloping grounds of
the Acushnet River, and in addition a much larger territory around
Sconticut Neck and West Island. The scalloping territory comprises
about 2,500 acres, most of which is unproductive or productive only at

The town charges $1 for the license to each scalloper. Seventy-three
licenses were issued in 1906-07. This is a larger number than has been
issued in recent years. The highest number ever issued was 80.

The capital invested is transitory, for the season, as in New Bedford,
usually lasts only three weeks. Possibly $14,000 is invested in this
way in boats and gear.

In a good season as high as 2,000 gallons have been shipped in a week.
The average season hardly produces this amount in the whole three
weeks. In the season of 1907-08, 1,300 gallons were shipped. Some years
ago the starfish was a source of damage to the fishery, but of late
years it has attracted little notice.

We find the following account of the scallop fishery of Fairhaven
written by A. Howard Clark in 1879:--

    Ten boats took 2,100 bushels of scallops in 1880. Fourteen men
    with 10 boats dredge for scallops from the middle of October
    to the middle of January. Great quantities are found in the
    Acushnet River, as well as along the western shore of the bay.
    A small dredge, holding about a bushel, is used. It is made
    with an oval-shaped iron frame, 3½ feet in length. Wire netting
    is used in the front part and twine at the back. Small sail
    boats, each with two men, fish with from one to twelve of these
    dredges in tow, sailing with just enough sheet to allow a slow
    headway. As soon as a dredge is filled, the men "luff up," haul
    in, empty, and go on. These little boats take from 10 to 75
    bushels a day. If the breeze be unfavorable, one man takes the
    oars while the other tends the dredges.

The amount of production at the present time is about the same, or
even more, than the figures given for 1879. In all other respects the
industry has changed. Five times as many men now work at the business,
while more boats and capital are invested. This looks as if the
industry had improved. The industry as regards the methods of capture
has improved, but the actual production has remained the same. Now the
season lasts barely three weeks, whereas twenty-five years ago with few
men it lasted four months.

_Fall River District._

No scallop fishery exists in these waters at the present time. In 1879,
800 gallons were taken from this region. This furnishes an excellent
illustration of the total decline of the scallop fishery in certain


The town of Falmouth cannot be said to support any scallop industry of
importance. Each year in Squeteague Pond, Wild Harbor, North Falmouth
and in West Falmouth harbor a few scallops can be found; but these are
used only for limited local consumption, and usually are very scarce.
Scallops are occasionally present in small quantities in Waquoit Bay.


The scallop territory of Harwich covers an extensive area on the south
side of the town, and in some places extends for a distance of from 2
to 3 miles out from shore. Usually the scallops are found, as in the
last season (1907-08), outside the bar, at a distance of 3 miles from
shore, where they can be taken only by dredging from sail or power
boats. The intervening body of water sometimes contains a few scallops
in a quantity to make a commercial fishery. The total area of the
scallop grounds is about 3,200 acres. The bottom is mostly sandy, with
patches of eel grass.

All the scallops are caught by dredging, as the water is too deep for
any other method. Twelve men were engaged in the fishery during the
1907-08 season. The boats, 7 in number, consisted of 3 power and 4
sail; 5 were manned by 2 men, 2 were sailed singly. The dredges used
here are the same style as the Chatham dredge.

The 1907-08 production was 2,170 gallons, valued at $2,843. The
scallops were shipped to the Boston and New York markets, the greater
part being shipped to New York, at an average price of $1.30 per
gallon. The scallops taken in 1907-08 were large, opening 3½ quarts to
the bushel.

                           CAPITAL INVESTED.

  Value of boats,                              $2,350
  Value of gear,                                  280
  Value of shore property,                        400
      Total,                                   $3,030

For the last two years there has been practically no scallop fishery.
The 1904-05 season was the last successful season, when the large bed
of scallops was found off Dennis. The 1907-08 season, however, has
been fairly good, and it is thought that the following year may be as


Marion was included in the general revival of the scallop fishery which
came to Buzzards Bay during the past season of 1907-08, and for the
first time in eight years has had a successful scallop season.

The scallop grounds of the town extend over an area of 1,500 acres,
situated on both sides of Great Neck, and extending from the Wareham
line to Aucoot Cove.

All scalloping is done by dredging. The fishery can be divided into two
classes: (1) the boat fishery; (2) the skiff fishery. Under the first
class comes the cat boat and sloop, carrying six dredges; while the
second class consists of the small sail skiffs, with one dredge. The
skiff scalloper rows or sails, as the wind permits, and with his one
dredge makes an average catch of 3 bushels per day. Forty-four men,
using 16 sail and power boats and 24 skiffs are engaged in the fishery.
The business likewise requires the services of nearly 24 openers.

About two-thirds of the dredges are of the "scraper" type, with chain
netting; the rest "sliders," with loose blades. A very few "roller" or
"lead" dredges are used.

The production for 1907-08 was 7,000 gallons, valued at $9,170. The
scallops were mostly sent to the New Bedford market. The scallops
are of two sizes: the smaller, which are taken in the shallow water,
open only 2½ quarts per bushel, while in the deeper water the larger
scallops yield about 3½ quarts. The rest of the body of the scallop,
after the removal of the eye, is saved for bait at Marion, the
scalloper receiving 30 cents per bucket.

                           CAPITAL INVESTED.

  Value of boats,                              $5,300
  Value of skiffs,                                250
  Value of gear,                                  580
      Total                                    $6,130

The three towns of Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester have common
fishery rights, as all three were included in the original town of
Rochester. In 1852 Marion became an independent town, and in 1857
Mattapoisett was likewise separated from Rochester. Until 1893 Marion
and Mattapoisett had separate fishery rights, Rochester having mutual
rights with both. Since then the fishery of these towns has been common
to all three. Every scalloper is required to have a permit, the boatmen
paying $2, the skiff scallopers $1, respectively.

The scallop industry supplanted the waning oyster industry at Marion
some twelve years ago, and for a time it flourished greatly. The
abundance of scallops and extent of the grounds furnish excellent
scalloping. After a few very successful years the industry suddenly
died out and became practically extinct. The direct cause is claimed by
the scallopers to have been the starfish, which came in the harbor in
great abundance at the time of the decline of the industry. Up to this
season but little scalloping had been done for several years, and not a
single permit was issued for the season of 1906-07.


The scallop territory of Mashpee lies in the Popponesset River and Bay,
comprising at most 200 acres. For the last six years there has been no
scallop industry in the town. A few scallops are occasionally taken for
home consumption.


The scallop territory of Mattapoisett, comprising an area of 1,200
acres, much of which is open and exposed, is in general confined to the
following localities: Nasketucket Bay, Brant Bay, Brant Island Cove,
Mattapoisett harbor, Pine Neck Cove and Aucoot Cove. The location and
extent of these grounds are indicated on Map 8.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                   22
  Number of boats:--
      Sail,                                        13
      Power,                                        6
          Total,                                   19

  Boats, how manned:--
      Single,                                      16
      Double,                                       3

Dredging is the only method of scalloping used in Mattapoisett.
Small cat boats and a few power boats are employed in the fishery.
The "roller" dredge is the most popular style with the Mattapoisett
scallopers, who claim that on the uneven bottom this dredge is the most
successful. This town is the only locality in the State where this kind
of dredge is used. The cost of a dredge completely rigged with rope,
which is often 15 fathoms long, is $4.50, and 8 to 10 dredges are used
for each boat.

During the 1907-08 season the production was 5,000 gallons, valued at
$6,550. These were mostly marketed at New Bedford, where they were
purchased unsoaked by the New Bedford Fish Company. At the first part
of the season it was not uncommon for a boat to catch 25 bushels per
day, but as the season progressed the size of the catch gradually
diminished. The scallops were large, opening 3 quarts to the bushel.

                           CAPITAL INVESTED.

  Value of boats,                              $6,900
  Value of gear,                                  760
      Total,                                   $7,660

The scallop industry at Mattapoisett, though once important, was
extinct for several years. The present season has shown a revival, and
the industry has again assumed a commercial value.


Nantucket is one of the leading towns of the State in the scallop
fishery. The grounds lie both in Nantucket harbor and in Maddequet
harbor on the west end of the island. The former of these is the
larger and more important, as the fishery is near the town. When the
scallops become scarce in Nantucket harbor, the scallopers adjourn to
the fresher beds of Maddequet. Nantucket harbor contains approximately
3,000 acres of scallop territory; Maddequet and Muskeget, 1,500 acres.

Practically all the scalloping is done by dredging from sail boats,
employing about 99 men in the fishery. The dredges are of the "slider"
and the "scraper" types, the iron frames of which cost $1.50 and the
netting bags 30 cents. From 6 to 10 of these are used per boat, and are
dragged by 7 fathoms of 15-thread rope. Five regular openers are hired,
who receive from 20 to 25 cents per gallon, according to the size of
the scallops. A few scallops are taken in the shallow water by the dory
fishermen with "pushers," which are locally known as "scoops." These
differ from the Cape Cod "pusher," being more rounded and smaller in

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of boats:--
      Power,                                       10
      Sail,                                        37
      Dories,                                      20

  Boats, how manned:--
      Single,                                      15
      Double,                                      32
      Single dories,                               20

In 1906-07 the production was 9,820 gallons, valued at $12,875.

                    |          |   Price   |
     1907-08.[14]   | Gallons. |per Gallon.|  Value.
  October,          |    2,639 |     $1.25 |  $3,298.75
  November,         |    4,160 |      1.00 |   4,160.00
  December,         |    5,430 |      1.00 |   5,430.00
  January,          |    5,910 |      1.50 |   8,865.00
  February          |      960 |      2.00 |   1,920.00
  March,            |    1,146 |      2.50 |   2,865.00
      Total,        |   20,245 |     $1.31 | $26,538.75

Shipments were made by express to New York and Boston, the charges to
New York being 95 cents, to Boston 55 cents per keg. The greater part
was shipped to New York market. The scallops were shipped mostly in
7-gallon kegs, which cost 33 cents apiece. About 30 New York and 20
Boston firms receive shipments from the Nantucket scallopers.

Two kinds of scallops, the large "channel" and the small or "eel
grass," are obtained. The small scallops are more numerous than the
large, but are naturally less desirable.

                           CAPITAL INVESTED.

  Value of power boats,                        $4,000
  Value of sail boats,                          9,250
  Value of dories,                                500
  Value of gear,                                  700
      Total,                                  $14,450

Of late years the scallopers have taken an interest in protecting the
scallop. Many scallopers when fishing in shallow water "cull out" the
small "seed" scallops, and, instead of returning them to the shallow
water, transplant them to the deep water of the channel, where they
are not only protected in case of severe winter, but produce a larger
scallop the following year. This is the only attempt at protecting
the scallop ever made in Massachusetts, and shows how important the
industry is to the town.

For the two seasons previous to 1907-08 every scalloper was required to
have a license. In 1905-06 the price was 50 cents, while the following
year, 1906-07, 190 licenses, costing $1 each, were taken out. No
licenses were required in 1907-08. Special by-laws, either limiting the
catch or enforcing a close season to meet the demands of the fishery,
are made by the town each year.

Scallops have been always plentiful, but fifty-five years ago they
were not caught, as they were considered poisonous. The present
industry started in 1883, and since that time, in spite of its ups and
downs, it has remained a constant source of revenue to the island.
Notwithstanding a scarcity of scallops, the high prices of 1905-06
enabled the fishermen to have a fairly successful season. Both the
1906-07 and the 1907-08 seasons have been very prosperous, as scallops
have been plentiful.

_New Bedford._

The scallop industry at New Bedford has been in existence since about
1870, and has furnished a livelihood for an average of 15 men ever
since. Of late years the industry has shown a marked decline.

In 1879 A. Howard Clark says:--

    Scallops are plentiful in the Acushnet River, and large
    quantities are taken with dredges from October through the
    winter. The business of late years has greatly increased.

About the same time Ernest Ingersoll also writes:--

    In the Acushnet River and all along the western shore of
    Buzzards Bay these little mollusks abound, and their catching
    has come to be of considerable importance in that locality.
    Mr. W. A. Wilcox, who sends me notes on the subject, says that
    it is only eighteen years ago that a fisherman of Fairhaven
    (opposite New Bedford) was unable to sell 5 gallons that he had
    caught. But the taste has been acquired, and a local market has
    grown up to important proportions, so that in 1880 14 men and
    10 small boats (dories) were dredging for scallops in Buzzards
    Bay from the middle of October to the middle of January. Mr.
    Wilcox says: "These small boats will take from 10 to 75 bushels
    a day." These men are not willing to work every day, however,
    since the tautog and other fishing calls their attention,
    and there is danger of overstocking the market. It therefore
    happens that the total catch reported for both New Bedford and
    Fairhaven men will not exceed 6,400 gallons, valued at $3,864,
    60 cents being a fair price in this and the Boston market. The
    value of the investment devoted to this business at Fairhaven
    is about $120.

The scallop industry of 1907 cannot be compared with that of former
years. The amount of scallops taken is not one-third of the former
production. More men are engaged in the business than twenty-five years
ago, but the beds are raked clean in a shorter time. The annual yield
has sadly fallen off, in spite of improved methods of capture and
increased number of fishermen. This decline cannot here be attributed
to either of the natural enemies of the scallop, as neither the
starfish nor oyster drill are abundant. Severe climatic conditions and
overfishing by man are the direct causes of this decline.

The scallop area of New Bedford comprises approximately 400 acres,
principally in the Acushnet River and in Clark's Cove.

In 1906-07, 38 licenses were issued by the city for scalloping. This is
a marked decrease over former years. Probably not all these men fish
regularly. In the last few years the season has been rather short,
lasting between three and four weeks, as the scallops were practically
all caught in that time.

The capital required for the business, consisting of cat boats, skiffs,
dredges, shanties, etc., amounts to about $5,600; but this is merely
transient, and is only employed for three or four weeks, and then
devoted to other fisheries.

                           ANNUAL PRODUCTION.

   YEAR. | Bushels. | Gallons. | Value.
  1905-06, |  1,000   |  1,000   | $3,000
  1906-07, |  1,200   |  1,200   |  3,000
  1907-08, |    700   |    700   |    917

All scalloping is done by dredging from either cat boats or dories.
Since 1879 improvements have been made, and cat boats instead of
dories, each manned by one man with six dredges, now do the work once
wholly performed, as Ingersoll says, by dories. All the scalloping
takes place in deep water.

When the law of 1905 made the Acushnet River and Clark's Cove forbidden
shellfish territory, because of the sewage pollution of the harbor,
the capture of scallops in season was still allowed. This was based on
the principle that there is no danger in eating the clean "eye" of the
scallop, although as a matter of fact there is actual danger of typhoid
infection to those handling anything from sewage-polluted waters.

The following notes were made Nov. 21, 1905, upon the fishery of that

At the opening of the season a bed of scallops was discovered just
outside the harbor beyond the light. Twenty-five boats set to work
immediately, but there was not a sufficient supply of scallops to keep
them long employed, and one by one they dropped out, until by November
21 only two or three boats were still engaged in the fishery.

The scallops of this year were of large size, 2½ to 2¾ inches, and
turned out a gallon of "eyes" per bushel,--an excellent yield, as the
average scallops only shuck out 2½ to 3 quarts to a bushel of shells.
If a man could obtain a gallon per day by November 21 he was lucky, and
owing to the high retail price, he made a fair day's wages.


On the flats about ½ to 1 mile from the west shore scallops are
occasionally found. Six years ago there was a fairly good season, but
since that time there have been very few scallops, and these are taken
only for home consumption.


Scallops are obtained on the flats in the east bend of the harbor
toward the Truro shore, where they are blown by a southwest wind.
Evidently there must be a bed of scallops in the deep water from which
the scallops are washed on the flats. In 1905-06 from 2 to 6 men were
engaged in picking up these scallops and retailing them for home trade.
About 1894 or 1895 scallops were numerous, and it was not uncommon for
a man to pick up 5 bushels on the flats at one tide. Since 1900 but few
scallops have been found.


The scalloping grounds of Tisbury are in the harbor at Vineyard Haven.
Only Vineyard Haven fishermen make a business of scalloping here. The
scallop grounds comprise an area of 800 acres.

Most of the scallops are obtained by dredging from cat boats, which
are nearly all equipped with power. With two exceptions the boats are
singly manned. Fourteen men go in 8 boats, using from six to eight
dredges per boat. Six men scallop in skiffs, using one dredge. The
dredges are similar to those used at Edgartown.

During the season of 1907-08, 3,000 gallons of scallops, valued at
$3,930 were captured. The fishermen ship chiefly to the New York
market. The scallops are of an exceptionally large size, opening, it is
said, 4 quarts to the bushel. The proportionate size of the "eye" to
the shell is much greater than with the ordinary scallop.

                           CAPITAL INVESTED.

  Value of boats,                              $3,000
  Value of skiffs,                                 90
  Value of gear,                                  300
      Total,                                   $3,390

No licenses or permits are required for scalloping. The last season
(1907-08) is the second season that scallops have been abundant in this


Situated at the head of Buzzards Bay, the town of Wareham possesses
a considerable water area which is suitable for scallops. The
entire territory, embracing approximately 2,500 acres, extends in a
southwesterly direction from Peter's Neck, including Onset Bay, to
Abiel's Buoy and from there to Weweantit River. Scallops are also found
in the Wareham River. Scallops are mostly found in the deeper water,
which makes dredging the only profitable method of scalloping in this

Scalloping is practically all done by dredging either from sail or
power boats, only 3 power boats being in use during the 1907-08 season.
Three men from the village of Wareham use "pushers," but the yield from
this style of fishing is very small. The style of dredge in most common
use is the "scraper." This year the price paid for the frame of the
dredge is $3.50. These dredges have the blade set downward firmly, and
have a chain bottom of iron rings. The usual number per boat is eight,
but at Onset any number from four to fourteen are used, according to
the size of the boat and the individual choice of the scalloper. Nearly
all the boats are cat boats, averaging in value about $300.

About 30 regular openers have been engaged off and on by the
scallopers. When the catch was large at the first of the season more
openers were engaged,--often as many as 3 to a scalloper. One-tenth of
the number are women.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of scallopers,                            45
  Number of boats:--
      Power,                                        3
      Sail,                                        33
      Total,                                       36

The quantity of scallops taken during 1907-08 was approximately
10,000 bushels, valued at $13,100. During October the catch was
about 15 bushels per day for the average scalloper, but later became
considerably less. The greater part of the scallops were sold to
the New Bedford Fish Company, the representatives of which bought
them unsoaked from the fishermen. Certain of the fishermen, however,
preferred to ship their catch to the Boston and New York markets.

                           CAPITAL INVESTED.

  Value of boats,                             $10,800
  Value of gear,                                1,300
  Value of shore property,                      7,000
      Total,                                  $19,100

No permits were issued in 1907-08. Previous to this year, permits were
required from every scalloper. Wareham has a fish committee, the duty
of which is to enforce the fish laws.

The first scalloping started in Wareham in 1879, when several boats
from New Bedford commenced dredging in Wareham waters. From that
time the industry rapidly developed, until it assumed considerable
importance as a winter occupation. Since 1899 the industry has been
practically dead until the present season of 1907-08. The Wareham
scallopers to a man attribute this decline to the inroads of the
destructive starfish. While the scallops have been so exterminated
that no profitable fishery has been conducted the last seven years,
they have not been wholly extinct, as a few could be found each year.
Lately the number has been increasing, until in 1907-08 the season was
very profitable. In connection with this it is said that the starfish
were less numerous than usual. The prospects of another good season in
1908-09 are excellent, as "seed" scallops are said to be plentiful in
many places, especially in the deep water, which furnishes protection
in case of a severe winter.


At the present time in Wellfleet Bay there is no commercial scallop
fishery, although scattering scallops are found in various parts of the


The scallop grounds of Yarmouth are on the south side of the town, on
the flats which border the shore from Bass River to Lewis Bay. Part of
the waters of Lewis Bay belong to the town of Yarmouth, and scallops
are found over all this territory. The nature of the bottom is the
same as at Dennis and Barnstable. The total area of scallop territory
is estimated at 2,250 acres. The scallop grounds of Dennis are open to
Yarmouth scallopers.

Both dredges and "pushers" are employed in the scallop fishery of the
town. The method depends upon the location of the scallops, whether
in shallow or deep water, as well as the means of the individual
scallopers. Both the Chatham dredge and the "scraper" are used.
Forty-one men were engaged in the 1907-08 fishery, using 15 boats and
ten dories.

The production for 1907-08 was 8,000 gallons, valued at $10,480.
Scallops were shipped to New York and Boston markets.

                           CAPITAL INVESTED.

  Value of boats,                              $3,750
  Value of dories,                                200
  Value of gear,                                  475
      Total,                                   $4,425

The same laws as were quoted for Dennis, the two towns having common
fishery rights.

The 1904-05 season was prosperous, as Yarmouth scallopers had the
privilege of scalloping in the large bed off Dennis. The two following
years were very poor, and even the last season has not been up to the


[10] E. Ingersoll, "The Scallop Fishery," United States Fish Commission
report, 1881.

[11] United States Department of Agriculture, Farmers' Bulletin 85,

[12] Statistics taken from the United States Fish Commission reports.

[13] Licenses.

[14] Return of Special Agent William C. Dunham.

OYSTER (_Ostrea Virginiana_).


                     RESOLVES OF 1905, CHAPTER 73.

    _Resolved_, That the commissioners on fisheries and game
    are hereby authorized and directed to make a biological
    investigation and report as to the best methods, conditions and
    localities for the propagation of oysters under the conditions
    found in Massachusetts waters. The commissioners may expend for
    the purposes of this resolve a sum not exceeding five hundred
    dollars a year for a period of three years.

As authorized by the above act, the Commissioners on Fisheries and Game
have conducted experiments of a biological nature upon the oyster. At
the start of the investigations, for a proper understanding of the
various conditions in the different localities, it was necessary to
make a survey of the oyster industry of the State. Recently this survey
has been supplemented by sending printed questions to the oystermen,
and the whole put in the form of a report, which gives an account of
the industry. This first report on the oyster is merely a broad survey
of the whole industry of the State, and is preliminary to future
reports of a more scientific character.

_The Need of a Survey._--In 1879 Mr. Ernest Ingersoll, in his
"Monograph on the Oyster,"[15] gave an excellent account of the oyster
industry of Massachusetts. Since that time no complete account, either
statistical or biological, has been written. Meanwhile, the oyster
industry of the State, owing to its steady improvement, has changed in
the past twenty-eight years, and what was true of 1879 is not true of
1907. Not only have localities changed and new areas been opened up,
but also the whole industry has expanded through the enterprise and
business ability of the oystermen, and to-day Massachusetts possesses
an oyster fishery which more than doubles the production of 1879. Thus
a survey of this fishery, by comparison with that of 1879, shows the
changes that have taken place, and gives some idea of the growth of the

It is hoped that this report will furnish sufficient data to give
actual knowledge of the conditions of oyster culture in the State, show
the success of this industry, and indicate what is essential for its
future improvement. It is necessary, in view of the conflict between
the quahaug and oyster fisheries, that the public understand the exact
situation, and this is possible only through a published account of
each industry.

_Scope of the Report._--The object of the report is to furnish
information which will be of value both to the oysterman and to the
consumer. Primarily the report is for the oysterman, showing the extent
of the industry in his own locality and in other parts of the coast,
where perhaps he is unacquainted with the conditions. While exact facts
are presented for the benefit of the oysterman, this report at the
same time tries to give a general description of the industry for the
consumer, who perhaps knows nothing of the oyster except as an article
of food.

The first part of the report has been arranged under the following
headings: (1) the natural oyster beds; (2) results of the survey; (3)
history of the industry; (4) the oyster laws; (5) the oyster industry;
(6) general statistics. The second part considers separately the
industry of each town or section.

_Methods of Work._--The statistical figures for the oyster industry
are reasonably complete as the oyster fishery is on a more systematic
business basis than any of the other shellfisheries. Nevertheless,
on certain points it was impossible to obtain absolutely correct
information, as, for instance, the area of grants, since no survey is
made of the grants when leased, and the oysterman himself does not
know the exact area of his granted territory. Thus an estimate has
to be made by each oysterman of his granted area, and, while this is
approximately correct, it cannot be considered as absolutely true.

The statistical returns were compiled by sending to each oysterman in
the State a blank form, containing a series of questions, with the
request that he would co-operate with the commission by answering.
Many oystermen responded with complete answers, thus permitting the
commission, through their aid, to publish an extended report on the
oyster fishery. However, it was found impossible to obtain complete
information from several towns, as a number of oystermen neglected
to return these blanks. The return of each oysterman is filed at the
office of the Commission on Fisheries and Game, and only the total
for each town is published, thus treating as confidential the private
business of individuals. The commission expresses a most cordial
acknowledgment to the oystermen for their co-operation in this matter.

The other parts of the report were obtained by personal inspection of
the oyster beds as to their biological conditions, by means of town
records, and interviews with the oystermen. Town records, which should
have given the location, number and areas of the grants, proved nearly
worthless in most cases, owing to incompleteness, loss and confusion.
Owing to the frequent change in selectmen, little if any information
could be obtained from this source, as the new selectmen were generally
unacquainted with the work of their predecessors concerning the leasing
of oyster grants. The grants were often incompletely described, bounds
uncertain and the acreage unknown.

The interviews with the individual oystermen furnished more and better
information both in regard to the present condition of the industry and
the general history for each town.

Personal inspection of the oyster grounds was made, the biological
conditions noted and the area of the grants plotted on the accompanying
maps. Not all these grants are worked, and parts of the cultivated
grants are unfit for oyster raising. The charted area includes all
grants, cultivated or uncultivated.

In reviewing the history of the industry, information was obtained
from town records, oystermen who had been in the business for years,
and various newspapers and periodicals. For a comparison of the oyster
industry of 1879 and 1907 the excellent report of Mr. Ernest Ingersoll
upon the "Oyster Industry," published in the tenth census of the United
States, was used for comparison, and in many places directly quoted.
Were it not for this work and the report of A. Howard Clark on the
"Fisheries of Massachusetts," it would have been impossible to draw any
reliable comparison with the oyster industry of twenty-eight years ago.

_Massachusetts as an Oyster State._--Massachusetts is perhaps not so
well adapted for oyster culture as it is for clam or quahaug farming,
and does not equal other seacoast States in the extent of its oyster
industry. Nevertheless, the oyster industry is on a much firmer footing
than the other shellfisheries, and is an important adjunct to the
wealth of the southern Massachusetts towns.

All the oyster grants, except in the towns of Wellfleet, Eastham
and Orleans, are found south of Cape Cod, as the southern shore of
Massachusetts alone is adapted for the oyster industry. Along the south
side of Cape Cod and in Buzzards Bay the numerous inlets and estuaries
afford with their brackish water excellent ground for the cultivation
of this bivalve, and many acres which otherwise would be barren have
been made productive through the grant system; while the shores of
Massachusetts which adjoin the waters of Narragansett Bay possess, in
the Taunton, Cole and Lee's rivers, excellent waters for the growth of
seed oysters. Thus Massachusetts possesses good facilities for oyster
culture, which are capable of a far greater expansion than present
conditions indicate.

However well developed the oyster industry is at present, there is
plenty of room for improvement. It is the consensus of opinion among
the oystermen that the business is developing every year,--a fact that
speaks well for its future. Improvements in the oyster industry can
arise in three ways: (1) investment of more capital in the business,
which will allow more extensive operations; (2) more intensive
cultivation of the present grounds; (3) the opening of new areas for
oyster culture and the utilization of waters at present useless.
Everything indicates that the oyster industry will take advantage of
opportunities as soon as they are given.

_The Oyster Grant System._--Oyster culture in Massachusetts is the
logical result of the failure of the natural oyster beds. When these
beds became destitute of oysters through overfishing, it was necessary
that means should be used to perpetuate the stock. Oyster planting had
been successfully carried on in the States south of Massachusetts, and
it was merely a question of experiment whether the oyster would respond
to the same methods in Massachusetts. Thus oyster culture arose in this
State at first as an experiment, later as an established industry.
Grants were given, as through this way only could oyster planting
become a success, and the "free fishery" people were forced to bow to
public opinion, which decreed that grants should be leased. Thus oyster
grants arose from necessity, as in no other way could Massachusetts
preserve her oyster supply.

The system of oyster grants and oyster culture, in spite of its many
failings, has shown what can be done to preserve and increase a natural
shellfish industry if the proper methods are used. Planted beds have
furnished enough spawn to maintain the natural beds, which would have
long ago been depleted through the inroads of overfishing. They have
preserved a fishery which would have disappeared almost completely, and
established a better and more extensive industry, not only benefiting
the oystermen, but also those indirectly associated with the business,
such as teamsters, transportation companies, etc.

In the following report various abuses of the present system of oyster
culture will be enumerated, and it is only necessary to state that
many evils must be eliminated before the oyster industry can obtain
its maximum expansion. Such evils as town politics, disputes with
quahaugers, etc., will have to be remedied. The greatest obstacle
which now checks the oyster industry is the _lack of protection_.
Until complete protection is given to the oysterman, the industry will
never attain to its full development. The removal of the abuses by the
organization of the oyster industry of the State under a unified system
is the best way to secure proper regulation and improvement of the
oyster industry.

_The Natural Oyster Beds._

While there has been much discussion whether oysters were ever native
in Massachusetts Bay, or merely the result of southern "plants,"
the consensus of opinion is that there were natural oyster beds in
existence when the first settlers came to this coast. Not only do
historical records show this, but the remains of the natural beds at
the present time indicate that oysters have existed for centuries.
Thus there seems to be no reasonable doubt that the northern coast
of Massachusetts, as well as the southern, once possessed extensive
natural oyster beds.

I. _Location of the Natural Oyster Beds._--(1) _Parker River._--A
natural bed of oysters once existed in the Parker River at Newbury, and
even fifty years ago it is said that oysters could still be obtained
from this natural bed. About 1882 the experiment of fattening oysters
for market was made, and many bushels were bedded on the flats during
the summer by an oyster firm at Newbury. These oysters not only grew
well, but threw considerable spawn, furnishing a good set in the river.
Oyster raising was then tried, but the result was a failure, as the
oysters which were planted in too shallow water were killed during the

(2) _Mystic and Charles Rivers._--Mr. Ernest Ingersoll states that: "In
1634 William Wood, in his 'New England's Prospect,' speaks of 'a great
oyster bank' in Charles River, and another in the 'Mysticke,' each of
which obstructed the navigation of its river." He locates the Charles
River beds as either off Cambridgeport or near the site of the Boston
Museum of Natural History.

Dr. G. W. Field, chairman of this department, in his report in 1902
as biologist to the Charles River Dam Commission, makes the following
statement about the Charles River oyster:--

    The oyster (_Ostrea_), formerly abundant, is no longer living,
    and, from what indications I have been able to gather, probably
    became extinct within twenty-five years. Their dead shells are
    brought up by dredging operations. Their peculiar elongated
    shape is the result of growth being concentrated at the upper
    end, as a result of their closely crowded position in the bed,
    or of an attempt to keep the opening above the accumulating
    mud, and thus avoid being smothered. The fact that there are
    few signs of small "seed oysters" tends to prove that the
    bottom was so muddy that they found few places to "set." From
    the elongated shape of the shells may be inferred that the
    amount of sedimentation going on in that particular region
    was rapid during the life of the group of oysters whose
    shells are to be found in quantities in the material dredged
    between Harvard and Brookline bridges. This sediment need not
    necessarily have been sand or clay, or any material which is
    persistent, but it might have been flocculent organic débris,
    which remained but a short time and left little or no evidence,
    beyond its effect upon the shape of the oyster shells.

In the above account Dr. Field not only locates the original oyster
beds of Charles River, but also furnishes evidence which indicates the
cause of their extinction, _i.e._, the débris and sewage, or waste
poisonous, polluting materials, of a large city emptying into the
river. This is not only true of the Charles, but also of the Mystic and
Taunton river beds, which have been destroyed in like manner.

(3) Mr. Ernest Ingersoll, in his report on the "Oyster Industry of the
United States," in 1880 mentions that natural oyster beds were once
at Weymouth, Ipswich, Barnstable and Rowley. Nothing further can be
learned concerning these places.

(4) _Wellfleet._--An extensive oyster bed was found at Wellfleet Bay,
which not only furnished a sufficient supply for the first settlers,
but enabled the inhabitants of Wellfleet to carry on a considerable
trade by shipping them to Boston and other ports, until it was finally
destroyed in 1775. Its destruction was due to overfishing and the
utilization of the shells for lime, which soon destroyed the natural

(5) _Chatham._--A natural oyster bed once existed in the Oyster Pond,
but no trace of it now remains.

(6) _Harwich._--Herring River in the town of Harwich still possesses
the remnants of a natural oyster bed, as occasionally a few oysters
can be gathered along its banks. This bed once comprised a stretch of
three-quarters of a mile along the river.

(7) _Yarmouth._--The town of Yarmouth once possessed a natural oyster
bed in Mill Creek, but this was fished out by 1895 and then granted for
oyster culture.

(8) _Barnstable._--There is a natural oyster bed at Centerville.

(9) _Martha's Vineyard._--Native oysters are said to have existed in
the brackish ponds on the south side of the island; a few are found
there at the present time.

(10) _Falmouth._--A few native oysters are to be found in the salt
ponds on the south coast of the town. In Squeteague Pond and Wild
Harbor oysters were once native.

Buzzards Bay comprises the best natural oyster territory in the State.
At the present time the natural oyster industry has been supplanted
by oyster culture, which gradually took the place of the declining
natural oyster fishery. While natural beds still exist to some extent,
they are, to all practical purposes, extinct. Where once there were
extensive areas, now there are only scattering oysters. In many cases
the beds have been so completely destroyed that the ground has been
granted for oyster culture. That Buzzards Bay is a "natural set area"
can be readily seen by the amount of "seed oysters" that are caught by
the oystermen who plant shells for the purpose.

(11) _Bourne._--(_a_) _Red Brook Harbor._--In 1879 Ernest Ingersoll

    On the southern shore of this harbor, about a mile from its
    head, exists a living bed of natural oysters some 7 acres in
    extent, under the protection of the town for public benefit.
    The oysters growing on it are reported to be large, but not of
    extraordinary size, scalloped and roundish, differing in no
    respect from aged oysters grown after transplanting to another
    part of the bay.

In 1907 this natural bed had been reduced to 3 acres, and the
unproductive part granted.

(_b_) _Barlow River._--In 1873 an act was passed to protect the oyster
fishery in Barlow River, by ordering a closed season of one and
one-half years. The passage of this act shows that a natural bed of
importance existed in this river, and that even in 1873 the effects of
overfishing were apparent. At the present time there are but few native
oysters in Barlow River, or, as it is sometimes called, Pocasset River.

(_c_) _Monument River._--A natural bed also existed in Monument River,
which became so depleted that about 1875 the river was surveyed and
divided into small grants.

(12) _Wareham._--(_a_) _Wareham River._--Natural oysters are found in
the Wareham or Agawam River, which has been one of the most productive
natural beds in the State, and still furnishes a scant living for two
or three men. In view of the overfishing, it is surprising that any
of the natural oysters have survived, except on reserved areas of the
town, which are opened every three or seven years for the capture of

(_b_) _Weweantit River._--The Weweantit River, which lies between the
towns of Wareham and Marion, has a larger and better natural oyster bed
than the Wareham River, but this has also been depleted by overfishing,
except on the reserved areas of the town of Wareham.

(13) _Dartmouth._--A few oysters are found in Slocum's River.

(14) _Westport._--Westport River has also a few oysters.

(15) _Taunton River, Coles River and Lee's River._--These rivers once
had extensive beds of natural oysters, but now are wholly devoted to
growing oysters. Old records and laws show how important these natural
beds were, and also furnish an excellent illustration of the effects of
overfishing combined with water pollution from manufacturing sources.

II. _Decline of the Natural Oyster Beds._--The above-mentioned examples
furnish abundant proof that the natural oyster beds of the State, which
once were sufficient to supply the wants of our forefathers, have
declined to such an extent that at the present time but few natural
oysters are tonged for the market. Where there were formerly many acres
of excellent native oysters, to-day there is scarcely an acre that can
be called good oyster fishing, except in a few cases where the towns
maintain a nearly perpetual closed season. No proof of the decline is
necessary; it is an established fact.

There have been two principal causes which have ruined the natural
oyster beds; besides these two,--(1) water pollution and (2)
overfishing,--certain geographical changes have doubtless occurred,
which have accelerated the decline.

(1) _Water Pollution._--The effect of water pollution through the
sediment deposited by sewage and manufacturing waste on the natural
oyster beds is well illustrated by the destruction of the Charles River
beds. This is also shown in a less degree in the Taunton River.

(2) _Overfishing._--The primary cause of the decline of the natural
oyster beds was overfishing. This is particularly true of the beds
south of Cape Cod and in Buzzards Bay, which were of large extent, and
unpolluted by manufacturing wastes or sewage. This overfishing has
not been the result of the last few years, since records show that as
early as 1824 Harwich passed an act to preserve the oyster fishery
of the town; and that Sandwich, in the part which is now the town of
Bourne, in 1832 passed regulations protecting the natural oyster
fishery in Monument River; while at Wellfleet the natural oyster bed
was completely exterminated by the year 1775. Overfishing has affected
the natural beds in several ways, all of which have worked toward the
general decline of the native oyster.

(_a_) The first settlers took the large oysters from the natural beds,
which under normal conditions had all they could do to keep up the
supply. In this way the beds were deprived of the spawning oysters,
with the result that in spite of the closed seasons, which gave little
if any benefit, a gradual decline set in.

(_b_) At the same time that the oysters were being taken from the beds,
the early oystermen through ignorance were making an economic blunder
by not returning the shells to the waters. The oyster shells furnish
naturally the best surfaces for the collection of "seed," as spat will
set only on clean surfaces. By taking the large oysters and with them
the shells and other débris from the bed, the natural oyster bars were
destroyed and less space given for the spat to catch. So both the
taking of the large oysters in excessive amounts and the destruction of
the natural spat collectors, either for lime, as was done at Wellfleet,
or for other purposes, were sufficient in the early days to cause the
decline of the natural oyster beds.

(_c_) In more recent times the destruction of the natural beds has been
hastened by the taking of the small oysters. This practice was due to
two reasons: (1) the supply of large oysters was exhausted; (2) oyster
culture became important, and the natural beds were raked clean for
"seed" which the oystermen obtained for planting on their grants. Thus
the oyster grant system has been the chief cause of the destruction of
the natural beds in the last forty years. It was only when the natural
beds failed that grants were given, and so oyster culture cannot be
considered the primary cause of the destruction of the natural beds,
but only a later agency in their total extermination. The natural beds
in Buzzards Bay all bear testimony to these three means of overfishing,
and in recent years particularly to the last.

It has been a most fortunate thing for Massachusetts that the oyster
grant system was inaugurated as soon as the decline of the natural
fishery became manifest, else at the present time there would be no
oysters in the State, for it is recognized that the present natural
beds are perpetuated by the spawn which comes from the various oyster
grants. Foresight has indeed provided an excellent oyster industry,
which is rapidly improving. It is only necessary to apply similar
methods of culture to the other shellfish industries of the State to
insure their future also; otherwise the decline, which is following the
same steps as the destruction of the natural oyster beds, will lead to
the commercial extinction of these valuable fisheries.

_Results of the Survey._

The survey of the oyster industry has shown several interesting
facts which should be brought to the attention of the fishermen
and consumers. In the first place, it has shown that the oyster
fishery is a larger and more important industry than it has been
commonly considered, and that the welfare of the shore fisheries of
southern Massachusetts depends upon its maintenance. Secondly, the
oyster industry is to-day in a position where it cannot reach its
full development for the reason merely that the present laws do not
encourage the expansion of the industry. Thirdly, the oyster industry
is trammeled by certain abuses, chiefly of a legal nature, which
hinder its development, and upon the abolition of which depends its
future success. Fourthly, the oyster industry under present conditions
encroaches to some extent upon the other shellfish rights, especially
in relation to the quahaug fishery, and has caused much jealous
feeling; but if properly regulated there should be room for both

In order to obtain the opinion of the oystermen concerning the present
abuses of the oyster industry, and how these could be best remedied,
the following question was asked of the individual planters: "What
measures or laws would, in your opinion, be best adapted for the
improvement of the oyster industry?" Although many neglected to answer
this question, forty-three opinions were offered, dealing with the
problems which the oystermen consider as needing attention and upon
which the welfare of the industry depends. These answers have been
arranged in tabular form, showing the number of oystermen who advocate
certain measures.

                          MEASURES SUGGESTED.

  Present laws satisfactory,                                      11
  Direct State control of oyster industry,                        11
  Town control, with right of appeal to the department of
    fisheries and game,                                            1
  Longer length of lease,                                          4
  More certainty of re-leasing grants if improved,                 7
  More protection for industry,                                    4
  Right to grow all kinds of shellfish,                            1
  More ground for cultivation,                                     1
  State to forbid marketing of oysters from contaminated waters,   1
  Provision for destruction of starfish,                           2
      Total,                                                      43

While these answers show a diversity of ideas, about 75 per cent.
urge that something be done to improve the present system, and, while
many are in favor of placing the industry under State control, the
majority is definitely of the opinion that the present system of town
control is proving a serious drawback to the oyster industry. The best
interests of the oysterman and the consumer demand a better method of
regulation of this industry. As long as town politics, partiality and
carelessness enter into the leasing of oyster grants, and thus deprive
certain people of their rights, it is safe to say that the oyster
industry can never get beyond its present state of development. One
solution of the difficulty might be full State control of leasing the
grounds for the oyster industry. This is possibly too radical a step
at present, and the system can perhaps be so adjusted as to remedy its
defects without taking the control of the fishery entirely away from
the hands of the town. Another solution is to continue the system of
town control, but to have a State commission which would act as a board
of appeal for all who felt aggrieved at the judgment of the selectmen.

The advisability of ten-year grants has caused much comment among the
oystermen. Practically all grants are now given for this period of
time. As a system it is deservedly unpopular, since it does not help
the quahaug interest, and it checks the development of the oyster
industry. The oyster business, unlike the other branches of shellfish
culture, requires a considerable capital. This system of ten-year
grants operates directly to discourage the outlay of capital. If the
oysterman were sure of reaping the benefits of his labor and capital,
it would be to his selfish interest to develop his own grant to its
maximum capacity. But what far-sighted business man will invest money
in a business which stands a good chance of being completely "wiped
out" in a few years? Again, this system makes three years out of the
ten practically worthless. The oysterman usually "seeds" his grant
about three years before he expects to reap his harvest; but when his
grant has run for seven years, it is evident that he will plant no more
oysters because of the uncertainty of obtaining a second lease, and
naturally does not desire to invest his labor and money for the benefit
of an unknown successor.

The remedy for this is not difficult. If a grant were rented annually
as long as the planter desired to hold it, to be forfeited if not
improved to a certain standard (to be decided upon), or for non-payment
of rent, the difficulties above enumerated would disappear. Much of
the territory now held unimproved would either be brought up to a
standard of excellence or given over to the quahaugers, and in either
case direct benefits would result. If legislation were so arranged
that any man might take, by the payment of a nominal rent, a small
piece of ground, which he could hold as long as he improved it, the
oyster industry could be put on a firmer footing; a man confident of
enjoying the fruits of his labors could thus improve his grant, and, as
he acquired skill and knowledge, could add other land and ultimately
expect to build up a successful business.

A third important suggestion relates to the marketing of oysters in
a sanitary condition. The oyster industry of the State has suffered
severely because of the scare resulting from the marketing of oysters
from contaminated waters. The Cape and Buzzards Bay oysters are
in general free from all sewage contamination, and should not be
considered on the same basis as the impure varieties from outside
the State. Naturally, the Massachusetts oystermen desire that there
be some guarantee for the purity of the oysters marketed, as their
interests suffer because this impure stock is often sold under the name
of the Cape oyster. If laws were passed requiring the inspection and
certification of marketed oysters in regard to healthful conditions
under which they have been produced, both the oyster planter and the
consumer would be benefited.

There is but little doubt that the oyster industry can be still
further developed by opening waste territory which at this time does
not appear available, since under existing conditions proper capital
cannot be induced to enter the business. The oyster industry demands
more attention than it has hitherto received, and must be considered an
important asset of the Commonwealth.

_History of the Industry._

Although the oyster laws are the mile-stones which mark the progress
of the oyster industry, and any consideration of the development of
these laws naturally gives many historical features, it is nevertheless
necessary, at the risk of repetition, to give a separate account of the
history of the oyster fishery. The Massachusetts oyster fishery can be
divided historically into three distinct periods: (1) the free fishing
period; (2) the period of bedding southern oysters; (3) the period of
oyster grants.

(1) _The Free Native Fishery (1620-1840)._--In the early colonial
days the oyster fishery was considered in the same way as the other
shellfisheries are now looked upon, _i.e._, held to be the common
property of the inhabitants of the Commonwealth. The natural supply
was abundant enough to meet the needs of all the inhabitants, and for
many years no signs of decline were manifest. In 1775 the natural beds
of Wellfleet gave out, furnishing the first record of unmistakable
decline. From that time there arose an extensive series of protective
laws, with the one object of preserving the natural supply by limiting
the demand. This policy of protective laws, though perhaps temporarily
beneficial, was based on an erroneous principle. It was preventive, but
not constructive, and did not build up the demolished fishery.

(2) _Oyster Bedding (1840-70)._--With the decline of the natural beds,
the practice of bedding southern "plants" became an important part of
the oyster trade. The southern oysters were bedded on the flats in the
spring and taken up for market in the fall. Salem, Wellfleet and Boston
were the leading places in this new phase of the oyster industry, and
many thousand bushels were annually planted.

(3) _Oyster Grants (1870-1908)._--So successful was this summer
bedding of southern oysters that experiments were soon made in rearing
oysters. This proved successful from the start, and within a few years
the extensive grant system which is now in vogue was inaugurated on
Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay.

These three methods, although separated by definite periods in which
each have been the leaders, remain to a greater or less extent at
the present day. The natural beds are still in existence, and, as at
Wareham, are opened once in three or seven years, according to the
discretion of the selectmen, for catching "seed." The summer bedding of
oysters still continues, as certain planters find it more profitable to
fatten than to grow oysters, and the oyster grant system is now in full

A comparison of the industry of 1907 with that of 1879 shows several
changes. These changes are for the most part improvements which have
arisen with the development of the industry. In some cases the changes
have been detrimental, and a few localities have shown a decline. New
fields have opened to the oysterman both in new localities and through
the extension of the present beds. On the whole, there has been a great
increase in the grant system of oyster culture, while the "bedding"
of southern "plants," which in 1879 employed many men, boats and
extensive capital, has practically disappeared. The annual production
has increased gradually, and for 1906-07 is approximately five times
as large as in 1879. The following figures, except for 1907, are taken
from the United States Fish Commission's reports, and show the gradual
increase in production:--

    YEAR.  | Bushels. |  Value.
  1879,    |  36,000  | $41,800
  1887,    |  43,183  |  64,115
  1888,    |  45,631  |  66,453
  1898,    |  101,225 |$156,235
  1902,    |  103,386 | 133,682
  1907,[16]|  161,182 | 176,142

_The Oyster Laws._

In submitting a complete report upon the oyster industry, the oyster
laws, which have played an important part in the development of the
fishery, cannot be totally neglected. However, so important a subject
demands separate investigation, and offers excellent opportunities for
legal research. Therefore it is not the purpose of this report to give
more than a brief account of the present oyster laws and their history.

The shellfish laws of Massachusetts constitute the foundation of the
oyster industry, as they have taken a practically extinct native
fishery and have built up the present extensive business. So closely
are they connected with its welfare that the future of this growing
industry depends upon the proper expansion of these laws to meet the
new conditions.

A survey of these oyster laws, with an analysis of their merits and
defects, is needed. Their defects have brought about the present
unsatisfactory situation in certain localities, and should be remedied.
Their merits should be strengthened and amplified, as the basis of
future expansion. They have come into being from time to time, in
response to the immediate need of the hour; consequently they have no
unity, and are, indeed, but imperfectly understood. An insight into
their perplexing details should bring out many inconsistencies. Again,
no comprehensive knowledge of the history of the industry is possible
without a study of the laws. The errors once committed need not be
repeated to further embarrass the industry, and the lessons learned by
experience would be well applied to its future development.

_Protective and Constructive Laws._--The oyster laws can be divided
into two classes: (1) protective; and (2) constructive. The early laws,
which were passed to save the natural supply, were of the first class;
while the laws establishing the present system of oyster culture come
under the second heading. The beginnings of all legislative enactment
arose in the treatment of the natural oyster beds. These beds were fast
becoming exhausted, when laws were passed to protect their important
natural resources. This measure was only partially successful. It did
succeed in preserving the remnant of those old beds from destruction,
but it was powerless to build up an industry of any extent. When it
became clearly evident that no possible fostering of native resources
could supply the growing demands of the market, legislation quite
logically directed itself toward the artificial propagation of oysters.
From this step arose a series of problems which long proved baffling,
and still engross a great deal of public attention. The artificial
propagation of oysters necessitated the leasing of grants in tidal
waters. This giving up of public property to private individuals
aroused the opposition of rival shellfish industries, who saw in this
measure a curtailment of their resources. Numerous other difficulties
of minor significance arose from time to time, all demanding attention
at the hands of the Legislature.

Apart from the general supervision of the oyster industry, there
have been two other sources of legislative enactment. First, special
laws have been called for to regulate the fishery in certain waters
under the oversight of the State Board of Health. Secondly, during
the past few years the attention of the Legislature has been directed
towards the development of the oyster fishery as an important asset
of the Commonwealth, and laws authorizing various experiments, both
scientific and practical, have been passed in order to devise methods
of increasing and developing the industry.

I. _Protective Laws._--The history of the oyster laws of Massachusetts
is a history of the industry itself. The rise and decline of the
fishery are distinctly traceable in the development of the legal
machinery which regulates it. From the time of the Pilgrims the oyster
beds of the coast had been regarded as inexhaustible mines. The fallacy
of this view gradually became apparent, as these beds began to be
depleted through overfishing. As early as 1796 a general law, entitled
"An act to prevent the destruction of oysters and other shellfish," was
passed by the Legislature. Prior to 1869 the town of Harwich adopted
this old law. Shortly after, Swansea followed suit, and restricted the
exploitation of her native oyster beds in the Lee and Cole rivers. In
1870 Wellfleet inaugurated an innovation, in the nature of a permit
to take oysters, which was required of all citizens of the town. The
idea of this permit was to regulate the fishery, centralize control
in the hands of the selectmen and add to the income of the town. In
1873 Sandwich passed a law enforcing a close season on all her native
beds, to last for a period of one year. In 1875 Brewster followed the
lead of Wellfleet, in demanding permits of all outsiders and also from
all citizens taking more than 3 bushels at any one time, although an
unlimited amount might be taken for food.

The aim of all this legislation was not to develop the industry
directly, but indirectly by preserving and fostering the native beds.
This theory, while excellent in motive, did not work out well, as the
native beds could not by any possible protection be brought to produce
an annual yield at all adequate to the growing demands of the market.

The utilization of purely natural resources proving unequal to the
demands of the occasion, the creation of other resources became
necessary, and an entirely new epoch in the history of the oyster
fishery was inaugurated. This epoch marked the beginning of the
production of oysters by artificial means, and the establishment of
this new industry and the perplexing complications which grew out of it
have been the source of legislative strife for many years.

II. _Constructive Laws._--The first legislation authorizing the present
system of oyster culture was instituted at Swansea, in 1869. This was
the beginning and the foundation of a broad movement of oyster culture
which spread rapidly along the southern coast of the State. This
curious law allowed the selectmen to sell, by public or private sale,
the oyster privilege of Swansea outright to any person or persons who
were citizens of the town. The measure, although apparently designed
to restrict the exhaustion of the native resources, did not tend to
develop the industry. It possessed one element of value, i.e., it
increased the revenue of the town. Apart from its interest as the
forerunner of artificial propagation of oysters, this old law is
noteworthy, as it forms the basis of the system which to-day regulates
the industry in that section of the country. The custom of selling an
extensive oyster privilege, as apart from the system of leasing grants,
first clearly outlined in the law of 1869, still holds throughout this
section. It remains the usual custom to sell either the whole of a
township's available oyster territory, or else an extensive part of it,
to one man for a lump sum per year.

In 1874 an important step occurred in the evolution of the oyster
industry. Swansea and Somerset were given the privilege of granting
any of their bays, shores, banks and creeks for the propagation of
oysters. This act was far more sweeping and advanced than any of its
predecessors, but it was in one respect too sweeping. It interfered
with the rights of the property owners along the shore, and was
therefore contrary to the general underlying principle of the State
law, which allows the cultivation of oysters only in so far as such
cultivation does not interfere with the vested rights of all citizens
alike. The measure proved untenable, and was promptly repealed.
Its repeal was on general principles a thing to be desired, but
nevertheless a blow to the industry. The tidal waters along the coast
have always been the most valuable part of the oyster territory, as
they have proved to be the best adapted for obtaining "oyster set."
This measure was therefore designed to aid the oyster growers, and give
them valuable privileges which belonged originally to the adjoining
property owners. Even to the present day the dividing line between
the rights of property owners and oystermen has remained an unsettled

It was about this time that the close season proved a failure in
Buzzards Bay, and the towns of Wareham, Bourne and Marion turned their
attention toward the establishment of an oyster industry. This attempt
became a settled policy of these towns about 1875.

In 1878 a peculiar act was passed, making it unlawful for any person
to remove oysters from any grant, even his own, between the hours
of sunset and sunrise. This act was necessary for the protection of
the oyster planters, by preventing the stealing of oysters from the
grant at night. Various efforts had been made to protect grants from
such attacks, but the extreme difficulty of detection was always an
insuperable obstacle to proper enforcement, and it was deemed expedient
to prohibit all fishing at night. That this problem had become an
important one is shown by the title of the law, which was styled
"An act for the better protection of the oyster fisheries in this

In 1884 an important act was passed, enlarging the limits of that
territory which might lawfully be used for the cultivation of oysters.
Practically all communal waters outside the jurisdiction of adjacent
land owners was thrown open for oyster grants.

In 1885 the institution of a public hearing was inaugurated. This was a
concession to the hostile quahaug element, and allowed the public the
opportunity of protesting against the granting of territory for oyster
culture; nevertheless, the final power really remained in the hands of
the selectmen. A further concession to this element was the law which
called for the revoking of grants within two years if unimproved. The
interests of the oystermen were also kept in sight, and legislation
passed which was designed to protect grants still more from the
depredations of outsiders. Provision was likewise made for the proper
enforcement of these laws, and the penalties attached were increased.

In 1886 an act was passed which was designed to do away with all
possible outside monopoly. The danger of organized capital acquiring
control of a large tract and excluding small individual planters had
become apparent, and this means was taken to guard against it. The act
prohibited the transfer of grants in any township to any person not a
citizen of that township; thus, if any monopoly did exist it would be
restricted to only one township. The limits during which fishing on
grants might be carried on was lengthened two hours, so that it read
from "one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset."

In 1892 the town of Yarmouth obtained a law requiring a permit for
citizens to take oysters from native beds, not exceeding 2 bushels per
week, from September 1 to June 1. This is now the only town in the
Commonwealth to require such a permit from citizens.

In 1895 legislation was passed relative to the proper definition of
the boundaries of grants. This was rendered necessary because of
the haphazard methods hitherto pursued in giving grants with very
indefinite boundaries. Mean low-water mark was fixed as the shoreward
boundary of grants, while mean high-water mark was defined as the limit
to which shells might be placed to catch the set. This, however, was
dependent upon the owners of the adjacent property, and their consent
was held necessary before this territory between high and low water
could thus be utilized.

In 1901 special legislation was passed, restricting the catching of
oysters in contaminated waters except for bait.

In 1904 authority was granted to proper officials to develop the oyster
industry by planting shellfish, or by close season.

In 1905 the Fish and Game Commission was authorized to expend a sum
not exceeding $500 per annum for the investigation of the oyster, by
experiment or otherwise, with a view to developing the industry.

The development of the oyster laws has been by a process of evolution.
They have kept pace with the growth of the industry, and have been in
fact the logical outcome of that expansion. The various acts which go
to make up the bulk of this legislation have been passed from time to
time to fill the immediate demands of the hour, and consequently lack
that unity and consistency which might otherwise characterize them.
Changing conditions have called for alterations in the legal machinery,
as the industry has expanded, to meet new requirements. These additions
have frequently been dictated by short-sighted policy, and the
Commonwealth as a whole has often been lost sight of in the welfare of
the community.

Of all the shellfisheries, the oyster industry is most hampered by
unwise legislation. It is the most difficult to handle, because it
presents many perplexing phases from which the others are free. Clams,
quahaugs and scallops flourish in their respective territories, and
legislation merely tends to regulate their exploitation or marketing.
With the oyster, however, other problems have arisen. The areas in the
State where oysters grow naturally are few in number and relatively
of small importance. The clam, quahaug and scallop grounds are to be
compared with wild pastures and meadows, which yield their harvests
without cultivation; while the oyster grants are gardens, which must be
planted and carefully tended.

With this distinction arises another question, of far-reaching
significance,--the question of private ownership. The quahaug, clam
and scallop fisheries demand that the tidal flats and waters be held
in common as communal interests, and freely open to all citizens of
the town; the oyster fishery requires that certain portions of these
flats and waters be set aside for private ownership. With the economic
questions involved in this discussion it is not the purpose of this
report to deal. There is one fact, in any case, which cannot be argued
away. The oyster industry is dependent solely upon private ownership
of grants. If, therefore, the oyster industry is to be encouraged at
all,--and it certainly has very great possibilities,--this fact of
private ownership must be accepted at once. If, as some assert, it is
an evil, it is a necessary evil, and it has come to stay. The questions
remaining for legislation on this subject are the proper regulation of
this private ownership, so as to give the maximum of encouragement to
the oyster fishery, and the minimum of danger to the rival shellfish

The oyster and quahaug industries openly clash. This is an unfortunate
occurrence, but it cannot be avoided, since the ground suitable for
the culture of oysters is almost always the natural home of the
quahaug. Therefore, when portions of this ground are given out to
private individuals for the production of oysters, the available
quahaug territory is necessarily reduced. Over this question endless
disputes have arisen. The problem is undoubtedly one requiring delicate
adjustment; but there is no reason why these two industries should not
flourish side by side, as there would be plenty of room for both if all
the available territory were properly utilized.

There is one important feature of this problem, however, which the
present laws have wholly failed to recognize. Wherever practicable,
the best of the quahaug territory should not be granted; and as far as
possible, the oystermen should utilize only those tracts of territory
which are not naturally very productive of quahaugs.

_The Oyster Industry._

For the benefit of those who perhaps are not familiar with the methods
employed in the oyster industry, the following brief account is given:--

I. _Selecting the Grant._--The oysterman, in selecting a grant, has to
consider first the nature of the soil; and secondly, the location as
influencing the growth of the oyster. Not less important is the quality
of the oyster, which means not only a good price, but also readiness
of sale, as the oysters produced in certain localities are especially
desirable in appearance and flavor.

As the oyster will not grow on all kinds of bottom, but demands a firm
soil, free from soft mud and shifting sand, the oyster area of the
State is naturally limited. Usually but part of an oysterman's grant is
suitable for the cultivation of oysters, and he is forced to let the
rest of the territory lie idle, unless he can, with shells or gravel,
artificially change this waste area into suitable ground. Shifting sand
perhaps can never be made suitable for oysters; but many acres of soft
mud can be made productive, if the oysterman only has a reasonable
guarantee that he would receive the results of his labor.

While the oyster culture is limited by the nature of the bottom, it is
also restricted by other conditions. The salinity of the water has much
to do with the rapidity of growth, and the oysters seem to thrive in
localities where a slight amount of fresh water enters. The amount of
food in the water is the principal factor in the rate of growth, and
to this is due the fact that the rate of growth varies considerably
in different localities. As a rule, the beds with good circulation of
water (_i.e._, currents) show the more rapid growth.

II. _Collecting the "Seed."_--The term "seed" is applied to one, two,
three and even four year old oysters which the oystermen plant on their
grants. These grants are in reality salt-water gardens, requiring
constant supervision; and the obtaining of the "seed" for planting is a
most important consideration. The gathering of the oyster "seed" is a
simple process, but one which requires much research.

Early in the summer, usually during the months of June and July in
these waters, the Massachusetts oyster spawns. Both sperm from the
adult male and the eggs from the adult female oysters are extruded
in considerable quantities into the water, and there the eggs are
fertilized. As fertilization is somewhat a matter of accident,
undoubtedly the great majority of eggs never develop. The fertilized
eggs pass rapidly through various changes in the course of a few hours,
and emerge as microscopic embryos, with thin, transparent coverings.
At this period these forms are free swimming, and are found in great
numbers in the water. They are extremely delicate, and great quantities
are destroyed by natural agencies, such as cold storms, sudden changes
in temperature, etc. They likewise are subject to the depredations of
all sorts of marine creatures, and comparatively few in proportion
survive. The survivors, after leading this free-swimming existence for
several days, settle to the bottom, where they attach themselves by
a calcareous fixative to stones, shells, pieces of wood, etc. Here,
unless buried by silt and soft mud or killed by exposure, poisonous
pollution, etc., the young oyster rapidly becomes of a size suitable
for planting.

The economic utilization of this scientific knowledge is as follows:
shells offer a very good surface for the attachment of the young
oyster, and many thousand bushels are annually strewn over the bottom
previous to the spawning season. Considerable judgment is needed in
choosing the right time to plant these shells, which after a few
weeks in the water become so coated with slime that fixation of the
"spat" becomes impossible. In Massachusetts the area between high and
low water mark has been found by experiment to be the most valuable
territory for this purpose, as shells planted here collect the heaviest
set and can be handled with the least expense. A projecting sand bar or
point with a current is also well adapted for catching oyster spat.

The scallop shell is the most serviceable in spat collecting, because
it is more brittle, and the clusters of oysters when attached are
readily broken apart. After the oysterman has obtained a successful
set, he allows the young oysters to obtain a suitable growth before he
makes a final planting, either in the spring or fall.

III. _Size of the "Seed" used for Planting._--While many oysters are
raised from native spat in the Buzzards Bay district, the greater
part of the seed is purchased in Connecticut and Long Island, and is
carried in schooners or steamers to Massachusetts waters. The usual
price ranges from 35 cents to $1 per bushel, according to size and
quality. The oystermen cannot always choose the size of "seed" they
desire for planting, as the set of any one year is very uncertain,
and several seasons may pass before a large quantity of "seed" can be
obtained. Thus the oyster planters are forced to take whatever size
they can obtain, whether it be two, three or four year old "seed." As
a rule, the small "seed" is most in demand, as it means relatively
faster growth and less money invested. Often, when the ground is most
favorable for fattening, large oysters are preferred for planting,
and certain oystermen make this line of work a specialty. Certain
localities where there is plenty of lime in the water are well adapted
for growth, and yet produce poor-"meated" oysters, while in other
grounds the reverse is true. The oystermen occasionally by a double
transfer utilize both grounds, planting oyster "seed" for the first few
years in the rapid-growing localities, and then transplanting the large
oysters to the "fattening" ground six months before marketing.

IV. _Preparing the Grant._--The first step in preparing the grant is to
remove all débris. In the deep water, this is usually done by dredging;
in the shallow water, by whatever means is the easiest. If the bottom
is of firm soil, the grant is then ready for planting; however, if the
soil is soft mud, it is necessary to shell the bottom in order to give
it greater firmness. The oysterman continually has to keep a sharp
lookout in order to protect his grant from enemies such as the starfish
and the oyster drill, and to keep it clear of seaweed and other matter
which would interfere with the growth of the oyster.

V. _Sowing the "Seed."_--The "seed" oysters are planted on the prepared
bed by scattering them with shovels or scoops from the boats and scows.
The oysterman, knowing the maximum amount of "seed" the bed will grow
to the best advantage, plants the required number, taking care that
the oysters are properly scattered, as for the best growth oysters
should lie separate and not in crowded masses. The amount of "seed"
that can be planted on a given area depends upon the natural conditions
of the locality.

VI. _Enemies._--The oyster, having passed through the countless dangers
of his embryonic career, is still harassed by several enemies. Of
these, the most destructive is the starfish. This animal, commonly
known as the "five-finger," occurs along the entire Massachusetts
coast, and is especially abundant in Buzzards Bay. Occasionally whole
oyster beds are wiped out by this pest, which sweeps over the ground
in vast armies. The method of attack of the starfish is unique. By
exerting with its tube feet a steady pull in opposite directions
on both valves of the shell of the victim, the starfish tires the
contracted muscle of the oyster, and the shells open. The starfish then
extrudes its stomach so as to enwrap the prey, and in this curious
manner devours the oyster.

A close second to the starfish in amount of damage is the oyster
"drill" or "borer" (_Urosalpinx cinerea_). This little mollusk with its
rasping tongue drills a small hole through the shell of the oyster, and
then sucks out the contents.

A third enemy, according to the oyster planters, is the "winkle"
(_Fulgur carica_ and _F. caniculatus_). The method of attack is
somewhat obscure.

Besides this dangerous trio of living enemies, the oyster is subject to
constant peril from inanimate agencies. Probably the greatest of these
is shifting bottom. Where oysters are grown on sandy soil, the violent
waves of winter storms frequently tear up the bottom, or else the force
of currents is such as to kill the oysters by completely burying them
in the sand. Again, if the oysters are growing in very muddy bottom
they are constantly liable to be smothered in the slimy ooze. Ice in
winter frequently tears oysters from their beds and bears them to some
unfavorable environment, where they soon die.

VII. _Harvesting the Oysters._--The oysterman completes his planting
about June 1. During the summer months, the growing period of the
oyster, the grants remain idle except for the care and supervision of
the oystermen. As the oyster takes from three to five years to attain
its growth, the oysterman practically harvests but one-fourth to
one-third of his entire stock each year, beginning about September 1
and continuing through the winter as the weather permits.

In winter the oysterman, to keep up the market supply, beds "culled"
oysters near the shore, where he can tong them through the ice whenever
it is impossible to obtain oysters from his grant.

The implements used in gathering the oyster harvest are of three
kinds: tongs, dredges and rakes. Tongs are employed principally by the
smaller oyster growers, and on ground where the water is comparatively
shallow. A pair of tongs is really a pair of long-handled rakes,
fastened together like a pair of shears. The pole, corresponding to
the blade of the shears, varies from 8 to 16 feet in length. The
rakes, some 2 to 2½ feet broad, are so fitted to the end of the poles
that when extended by spreading the handles they rest upon the bottom
parallel to each other. These tongs are usually worked from skiffs or
flat-bottomed boats, the oystermen first separating the tips of the
handles and then bringing them together, thus causing a corresponding
movement of the two rakes, which with their 2-inch iron teeth gather in
all the intervening oysters. The tongs with their burden of oysters are
then lifted into the boat, emptied, and the process repeated.

Dredging is a much faster and less laborious method of oystering
than tonging, and can be carried on over a much larger territory.
The oyster dredge consists of a bag of woven iron rings attached
to an iron framework. From each corner of the framework iron rods
extend, converging at a point some feet away. At this point the rope
is attached, by which the dredge is dragged from either a sail or
power boat. The blade, resting horizontally on the surface, is armed
with teeth which rake the oysters into the bag. When this bag, which
holds from 3 to 8 bushels, is full, the dredge is raised, usually by a
windlass worked by steam, gasolene or hand power, as the case may be,
its contents dumped out and the dredge lowered for another haul.

Rakes, the third implement in general use, are not employed as
extensively as tongs or dredges, but are used in still water, where the
bottom is suitable.

VIII. _Marketing._--The "catch" as soon as it is dredged or tonged
is brought in boats to the oyster houses, where men with hatchets or
similar implements break apart the clustered oysters and cast aside
the empty shells, bits of rock, etc. Three different varieties of
marketable oysters are usually sorted out, according to size: (1)
large, (2) medium and (3) small. The respective sizes vary somewhat
with the locality, demands of the market and the season; but the large
oysters commonly count about 900 to the barrel, the medium 1,000 or
more, while the small run 1,200 or over.

The different sizes as they are sorted out are packed in barrels and
are then ready for shipment. The principal markets are of course New
York and Boston, though the demand farther inland is increasing, and
shipments to Chicago or places even farther west are frequently made.

_General Statistics._

The following facts concerning the oyster industry have been compiled
from the written statements of the different oystermen. Complete
returns have not been received from Wareham, Barnstable, and Falmouth,
while possibly a few oystermen in the other towns have been overlooked.
Falmouth raises but few oysters for the market and these returns have
been recorded, the remaining oystermen merely planting for their own
use. In the towns of Barnstable and Wareham about four-fifths of the
oystermen have made returns. The facts given in the following tables
are based only on the returns at hand, and therefore do not give a
complete report for these two towns.

                          STATISTICAL SUMMARY.

                      |   NUMBER OF  |   AREA OF WORKED GRANTS    |
        TOWN.         |    GRANTS.   |        (ACRES).            |Number
  --------------------+------+-------+------+---------+-----------+of Men.
  Wellfleet,          |    35|     23|   967|      810|        157|    14
  Chatham,            |    21|     21|    65|       55|         10|    20
  Dennis-Yarmouth,    |     4|      2|    10|       10|          -|     3
  Barnstable,         |    29|     29|   188|      121|         67|    33
  Falmouth,           |    22|      6|    44|       23|         21|     5
  Bourne,             |   135|     42|   100|       83|         17|    21
  Wareham,            |   125|     70|   196|      159|         37|    26
  Fall River district,|    14|     14|   810|      510|        300|    36
  Nantucket,          |     2|      1|    20|        3|         17|     1
     Total,           |   387|    208| 2,400|    1,774|        626|   159

                           CAPITAL INVESTED.

        TOWN.     | Boats. |Implements.|  Shore    |   Bedded |   Total.
                  |        |           | Property. |  Oysters.|
  Wellfleet,      | $10,115|      $575 |    $1,200 |  $19,500 |  $31,390
  Chatham,        |   1,695|       313 |     1,225 |   23,300 |   26,533
  Dennis-Yarmouth,|      25|        50 |       100 |    5,000 |    5,175
  Barnstable,     |   5,269|     1,139 |     4,300 |   28,850 |   39,558
  Falmouth,       |   1,525|       105 |     1,000 |      450 |    3,080
  Bourne,         |   5,515|       483 |       150 |   18,300 |   24,448
  Wareham,        |   9,355|     1,120 |     2,420 |   27,725 |   40,620
  Fall River      |        |           |           |          |
     district,    |  19,840|     2,000 |     6,200 |   68,500 |   96,540
  Nantucket,      |     518|        15 |        25 |      800 |    1,358
     Total,       | $53,857|    $5,800 |   $16,620 | $192,425 | $268,702

                         PRODUCTION OF 1906-07.

                  | MARKETABLE OYSTERS.|   SEED OYSTERS.  |   Total
      TOWN.       +---------+----------+--------+---------+   Value.
                  | Bushels.|  Value.  |Bushels.|  Value. |
  Wellfleet,      |  22,500 |  $24,850 |  1,000 |  $1,000 |  $25,850
  Chatham,        |  14,550 |   23,987 |      - |       - |   23,987
  Dennis-Yarmouth,|   1,000 |    1,500 |      - |       - |    1,500
  Barnstable,     |  25,850 |   48,050 |    100 |     100 |   48,150
  Falmouth,       |   3,012 |    6,025 |      - |       - |    6,025
  Bourne,         |   2,100 |    4,100 | 23,000 |  15,000 |   19,100
  Wareham,        |   7,770 |   12,790 | 22,100 |  12,090 |   24,880
  Fall River      |         |          |        |         |
     district,    |  38,000 |   26,250 |      - |       - |   26,250
  Nantucket,      |     200 |      400 |      - |       - |      400
     Total,       | 114,982 | $147,952 | 46,200 | $28,190 | $176,142


  _A._ North side of Cape Cod:--
          1. Wellfleet.
          2. Eastham.
          3. Orleans.
  _B._ South side of Cape Cod:--
          1. Chatham.
          2. Harwich.
          3. Dennis and Yarmouth.
          4. Barnstable.
          5. Mashpee.
          6. Falmouth.
  _C._ Buzzards Bay:--
          1. Bourne.
          2. Wareham.
          3. Marion.
  _D._ Fall River district.
  _E._ Nantucket.


For the past thirty years there has been an extensive oyster industry
at Wellfleet, and many grants have been taken out in the waters of
Wellfleet Bay, which possesses some of the best oyster ground in the
State. In spite of the success of the past years, the industry is
declining, indicating, possibly, that after 1910 no more grants will be

Four parts of the bay are taken up by oyster grants in the vicinity of:
(1) Mayo's Beach; (2) Great Island; (3) Indian Neck; (4) Lieutenant's

(1) Nine grants, covering an area of 176 acres of both flats and
deeper water, extend out from Mayo's Beach a distance of 1,500
feet. These grants extend along shore from Commercial Wharf to Egg
Island, a distance of 3,500 feet. Seven of these grants have each a
shore extension of 200 feet, the other 2 having 600 and 1,500 feet
respectively. The principal planting on these grants is done by D.
Atwood & Co.

(2) On the west side of the bay, along the shores of Great Island and
Beach Hill, there are 7 grants which are now worked. Originally there
were 12 grants in this locality, but 5 of them expired some time ago.
The area included in these 5 grants is 500 acres, while the entire
granted area covers 708 acres. Wright & Willis, R. R. Higgins and L. D.
Baker have done most of the planting on these grants in the past few

(3) On the east side of the bay, near Indian Neck, are 5 grants,
comprising 224 acres. J. A. Stubbs does all the planting here. A single
grant of 11 acres of flats is held in Duck Creek Cove by J. C. Wiles.
These grants extend along the shore for 2,000 yards and run out into
the bay for 1,000 yards.

(4) Off Lieutenant's Island are 8 grants, comprising a total area of
1,062 acres. Only 3 of these, comprising 559 acres, are now worked.
Joseph Crosby of Osterville is the principal planter on these grants.

From the statistical returns of the oyster planters it is found that
23 grants are now held for oyster planting, comprising an area of 967
acres; 810 acres, or 83 per cent. of this area, is suitable for oyster
culture. There is very little soft mud bottom, only 82 acres, while the
shifting sand area is 75 acres.

The total area of grants ever leased at Wellfleet comprises 2,182
acres, of which 1,473 are now held. The average depth of water over
these grants at mean low tide is 4 feet, the extremes running from 1 to
12 feet.

  Capital invested,                           $31,390
  Power boats,                                      4
  Value of power boats,                        $9,250
  Sail boats,                                       4
  Value of sail boats,                           $750
  Dories and skiffs,                                8
  Value of dories and skiffs,                    $115
      Dredges,                                     14
      Tongs,                                       12
  Value of implements,                           $575
  Value of shore property,                     $1,200
  Value of oysters on grant,                  $19,500

Most of the oystering is done by dredging, two large gasolene oyster
boats, the "Cultivator" and the "Marion," being employed for this
purpose. Tongs are also used extensively. Fourteen men are engaged from
six to twelve months each year in the oyster business.

The production for 1906-07 was 22,500 bushels of marketable oysters,
valued at $24,850; and 1,000 bushels of "seed," worth approximately
$1,000. Most of the planted "seed" is obtained from Long Island and

The damage from the natural enemies of the oyster is reported as very

The Wellfleet oyster has a peculiar salty flavor not possessed by other
oysters. For some trade this is preferred, while for others it is not
so desirable. Before marketing the extreme saltiness is sometimes
removed by floating the oysters in Duck Creek, where the water is less
salt, using large, scow-like floats, 30 by 15 feet.

Several Boston firms are engaged in oyster culture at Wellfleet,
including D. Atwood & Co., J. A. Stubbs and R. R. Higgins.

For years there has been a conflict between the quahaugers and the
oystermen at Wellfleet. This is very natural, owing to the rivalry
between the two industries and the rapid rise of the quahaug fishery in
the last fifteen years. Owing to their greater number, the quahaugers
have obtained the upper hand in town affairs, with the result that
in 1910, when all the oyster leases run out, it is said that no more
will be granted, and the oyster business of Wellfleet will come to an
end. This is especially unfortunate for the town, as there is room
for both industries, and the destruction of either one would be a
great financial loss. It is hoped that some means can be devised to
straighten out the difficulties between the opposing factions before
either industry is ruined.

But little oyster spat has ever been caught in Wellfleet Bay. That
oysters will set there is evidenced by the young "seed" caught on the
piles of the wharves and on stones and rocks around the harbor. It is
noteworthy that at Wellfleet the spat sets only between the tide lines,
and does not catch where water is constantly over the ground. This is
directly contrary to the conditions in Long Island Sound, where the set
is caught in deep water. E. P. Cook and J. A. Stubbs have tried spat
collecting in Herring River for several years, with the results of one
or two good sets, the best being caught by Mr. Cook in 1906. The other
years have proved failures in this line. There is no question but that
oyster spat can be profitably caught if sufficient interest is taken in
the matter.

The early laws were as follows:--

    In 1772 a law having been enacted by the General Court,
    regulating the taking of oysters in Billingsgate Bay, an
    amendment to that act was now asked by the town, namely, that
    during the summer months oysters shall not be taken to market,
    nor fished by the inhabitants of the town for their own use
    during the months of July and August.

In 1773:--

    That, inasmuch as the oyster fishery, which is of great
    value to the town and of great advantage to the Province,
    has received detriment from persons taking young oysters,
    the enactment of more stringent regulations are necessary to
    prevent their destruction.

These early laws show that the natural oyster beds were highly prized
by the Inhabitants in colonial days, and that measures, even then,
were necessary to prevent their extinction. At the present time
Wellfleet has no other regulations than the general oyster laws of the

The history of the oyster industry of Wellfleet can be divided into
three periods: (1) the natural oyster fishery; (2) the "bedding" of
southern oysters; (3) oyster planting.

(1) _The Natural Oyster Beds of Wellfleet._--The first settlers found
a natural oyster bed near Hitchin's Creek, or Silver Spring, in 1644,
and it is said that oysters were very abundant at that time. Old shells
are occasionally dredged or raked up at the present day from these
beds. The Rev. Enoch Pratt, in his "History of Eastham, Wellfleet and
Orleans," gives the following account of this early oyster industry:--

    Oysters were found in great abundance on the flats at the first
    settlement [1644], but at this time [1770] the inhabitants had
    so increased and such quantities were taken for consumption and
    for the Boston market, that it became necessary, to prevent
    their entire destruction, for the district to take measures to
    preserve and propagate them.... Shops and stands were opened
    in Boston, Salem, Portland and other places, where the oysters
    were sold in quantities to suit the purchaser.

    In 1775 all the oysters in the bay died. What caused their
    destruction is not certainly known, but it is supposed that
    as, at this time, a large number of blackfish died and came on
    shore, where their carcasses remained, producing a very filthy
    condition of the water, it caused this mortality.

A more probable explanation is given by Mr. E. P. Cook of Wellfleet.
The early inhabitants, not knowing the value of the natural shell beds
for catching the spat, greedily took every shell and burned them into
lime as a fertilizer for their farms and plaster for their houses.
There was once a fine strip of woods near this original oyster rock,
but this was cut down, and the sand gradually washed over the beds,
killing the young oysters. To these two causes can be attributed the
final destruction of the natural beds in 1775.

(2) _The Bedding of Southern Oysters._--After the destruction of the
natural beds, an important industry arose in the "bedding" of southern
oysters for northern trade. Privileges for bedding oysters on the flats
were granted to a number of oyster firms. These men hired schooners
in the latter part of the winter or the early spring, which went to
the southern oyster grounds and brought back loads of oysters. These
oysters were spread or bedded over the leased flats of the harbor,
where they remained until the following fall, when they were taken up
for market. In this way the oysters gained in size by the summer's
growth, and were fattened for market. Considerable trade sprang up in
the carrying of oysters, and many vessels were engaged in this traffic.
In 1841 Mr. Gould, the conchologist, states that 120 men, with 30
vessels of about 40 tons each, were employed for three months of the
year, and brought to the town an annual revenue of $8,000.

In 1841 Capt. William Dill is credited with bringing into Wellfleet the
first cargo from Virginia, which started a large trade in Chesapeake
oysters. Mr. Ernest Ingersoll makes the following statement concerning
the Virginia trade:--

    Nevertheless, it was not until about 1845 or 1850 that the
    business began to confine itself to Virginia oysters, and a
    large business to be done. At its height, about 1850, it is
    probable that more than 100,000 bushels a year were laid down
    in the harbor; some say 150,000.... The favorite ground was at
    the mouth of Herring River.

The Rev. Enoch Pratt writes, in 1844:--

    The inhabitants of the town tried the experiment of bringing
    oysters from the south and laying them down on the flats, which
    succeeded well. In the course of a year they doubled their
    size and their quality was much improved. This soon became a
    large business, and a number of vessels have been employed in
    the spring of every year in bringing them here. The number of
    bushels which are now [1844] annually brought is about 60,000.
    Nearly all the oyster shops and stands in Boston, and other
    cities and towns in this State, are supplied from this place,
    and are kept by persons belonging to the town. This business
    affords a living for many families.

Mr. Ernest Ingersoll thus describes the decline of the oyster trade in

    The war of the rebellion, however, interfered somewhat with the
    oyster trade, and it began to decline so far as Wellfleet was
    concerned. Then the various dealers in northern ports, having
    learned something, began to bed near home in their own harbors,
    and so saved freightage. Finally, the steamers from Norfolk
    and the railways entered into so serious a competition that
    fully ten years ago [1870] Wellfleet Bay was wholly deserted
    by the oystermen as a bedding ground, though her vessels still
    continue to carry cargoes in winter from Virginia to Boston,
    Portland, Salem, Portsmouth and the Providence River, to supply
    the active trade and fill the new beds, which the dealers at
    these various ports had learned could be established at home.
    The reader thus discovers how important a part Wellfleet has
    played in the history of the oyster trade of New England. A
    hundred thousand bushels of the bivalves once grew fat along
    her water front, and thousands of dollars were dispensed
    to the citizens in the industry they created. Now [1880] a
    little experimental propagation, to the value of a few hundred
    dollars, and about 6,000 bushels of bedded oysters from
    Virginia, worth perhaps $5,000 when sold, form the total active
    business. The oyster fleet, however, remains, though greatly
    diminished, and carrying its cargoes to Boston, Portland and
    elsewhere, instead of bringing them to be laid down in the home
    harbor. It will be long before Wellfleet, and its neighbor,
    Provincetown, lose the prestige of old custom as oyster

(3) _Oyster Raising._--In 1876 the first attempt to raise oysters from
"seed" at Wellfleet, is said to have been made by E. P. Cook, who
obtained a grant from the town of about 30 acres, on which were planted
500 bushels of "seed" from Somerset, Mass. The "Oysterman" of Dec. 20,
1906, gives the following account of oyster planting at Wellfleet:--

    In 1876 our informant, Mr. E. P. Cook, conceived the idea that
    these waters could grow "seed" oysters as well as fatten big
    stock. He went to Somerset, Mass., and got a carload of 500
    bushels and planted them. A few had previously been planted
    but with ill success. The people laughed at him for dumping
    his good money overboard. He was the first man to lease a
    piece of oyster ground from the State, and of course had his
    pick, which was 600 feet on the shore next to the Silver
    Spring, the original spot of the natural rocks. Mr. Cook here
    showed his acumen as a culturist. The next spring they had
    made a remarkable growth, and all had lived. Then there was
    a stampede of the fellows who laughed, to get some ground,
    too. Soon every inch of available ground had been taken up.
    We mention the following who took up plats: Solomon Higgins,
    I. C. Young, Benjamin Oliver, Daniel Oliver, Edward Oliver,
    Cornelius Rogers, William Smith, S. B. Rich, Theodore Brown,
    Stephen Young. These men did not all plant. The next year Mr.
    Cook bought 500 bushels more, and now he had 1,000 bushels on
    his grounds. These were two-year-old plants, and when they
    had laid there three years he sold these primitive beauties
    for $5 per barrel. Some time after this he bought Mr. Rich's
    plot. Subsequently Mr. Cook sold 400 of his 600 feet to R. R.
    Higgins, the founder of the famous oyster-packing house by that
    name. This same man bought the 200 feet of Solomon Higgins. Now
    this house had 600 feet of shore ground. R. R. Higgins was the
    first wholesaler with capital invested in the culture of the
    Cape Cod oysters. Finally, this house absorbed all the ground
    Cook had. Eight years after this the Wright & Willis firm came
    on the scene; that period had elapsed since the first cargo
    of "seed" had been freighted here. They bought the remainder
    of the Solomon Higgins grant. Then Mr. Cook took out another
    grant below Smalley's Bar. Capt. Albert Harding and Capt. D.
    A. Newcomb took out leases. In 1892 Mr. Cook sold his lease to
    the D. Atwood Company. Then Mr. Cook bought the Capt. Albert
    Harding lease and sold the right to plant on it, the law then
    not allowing the lessee to turn over the grant in toto. Then
    H. & R. Atwood became interested here. About this time some
    friction between the planters and clammers existed, but it
    should be remembered that the planters occupied only about
    200 of the 2,400 acres involved in this dispute. Then it was
    that J. A. Stubbs came on the stage of activity, and Mr. Cook
    secured a lease for this wholesale concern.


The oyster industry of Eastham is closely associated with the Wellfleet
industry, and practically all the business is carried on by Wellfleet

The grants extend along the western shore from the Eastham-Wellfleet
line south, running out into the bay a distance of 1 mile. The average
width of these grants is 900 feet. Twenty-four grants have been given
out by the selectmen, but only 12 of these are in existence at the
present time, the others having lapsed for non-payment of dues. (The
town charges $3 for the original grant, and $1 each year thereafter).
The area of the grants is 800 acres, of which only 125 acres are under
cultivation. As all the business, which is but small, is done by
Wellfleet firms, the statistics of the industry are included in the
Wellfleet report. All the grants, as at Wellfleet, expire in 1910.


There are 5 grants on the west coast of the town, but practically
nothing is done in the oyster business. The oyster industry of Orleans
is a dead issue, and quahaugers dig at will over all the granted

The grants are all eight to nine years old, and will not be renewed,
as they are said to be unconstitutional, since the waters of Eastham
and Orleans are common, and the consent of Eastham was not obtained
when they were granted. The real reason for not renewing them will be
because they are not profitable. The sand shifts on a good deal of the
territory, and where the water is too deep for shifting, oyster culture
does not seem to pay.

Four years ago 15,000 bushels of two-year-old "seed" was sent here from
Connecticut. The greater part of this "seed" died in transportation,
and much of the remainder was killed by the shifting sand. Two years
ago (1905) 3,000 bushels of marketable oysters were shipped from
Orleans; but little has been done since then. No set has ever been
caught here, although spat catches readily on the rocks which lie
between the tide lines.


The oyster furnishes an important industry for the town of Chatham,
which ranks next to Wellfleet and Cotuit in the production of "Cape"

The oyster grants are all situated in Oyster Pond and Oyster Pond
River, covering an area of 65 acres of excellent bottom. Of this, 55
acres is hard bottom; 6 acres, soft mud; and 4 acres of coarse shifting
sand. The whole of Oyster Pond River and the most of the shore waters
of Oyster Pond are taken up by grants. The central part of Oyster Pond
possesses a soft bottom, and is therefore unsuited for oyster culture.
The depth of water over the grants varies from dry to 6 feet at low

Records show that a natural oyster bed once existed in Oyster Pond, as
in 1802 "excellent oysters, but scarce," were reported. Even now old
shell heaps are found, which contain extremely large oyster shells,
and indicate that the Indians used these oysters for food. Indeed,
the name, Oyster Pond, was given long before grants were issued, and
doubtless received this name because of these natural oysters.

No natural oysters remained in 1877, when the first grants were issued
to George S. Atwood, John Vanhise, Jonathan Small, Stephen Gould and
Frank Lanpier. The last three named held together one grant in Oyster
Pond River; Atwood's grant was in Oyster Pond; while Vanhise's grant
was partly in Oyster Pond and partly in Stage harbor, where oyster
culture was a failure. The planting was not very successful at first,
owing to a lack of proper methods.

These grants were issued in 1874 for a term of twenty years. The next
series of grants were issued for ten years, and in 1893 the first
grants were renewed for the same length of time. Since the period of
the twenty-year grants there have been two ten-year leases, and the
present leases will expire in 1911.

A town regulation restricts the oyster grants to the southern waters of
the town, and allows no grants to be given in the waters of Pleasant
Bay, where there is considerable territory which might be suitable
for oyster raising. As all the available territory is now taken up in
Oyster Pond, no more grants can be issued.

The method of obtaining a grant by a resident of the town is to choose
the locality, stake out the grant and report the same to the selectmen,
who will grant a license if the bounds are satisfactorily described,
and no part of another grant is included. The price of the license,
which runs for a period of ten years, is $2, and 50 cents is charged
for recording it. No regular survey of the grant is made. Taxes are
paid yearly on stock and working capital.

  Capital invested,                           $26,533
  Power boats,                                      1
  Value of power boats,                          $300
  Sail boats,                                       2
  Value of sail boats,                           $500
  Dories and skiffs,                                8
  Value of dories and skiffs,                    $105
  Scows,                                           12
  Value of scows,                                $790
      Dredges,                                     10
      Tongs,                                       34
  Value of implements,                           $313
  Value of shore property,                     $1,225
  Value of oysters on grant,                  $23,300

Owing to the shallow water, most of the work is done by tonging. Flat
scows, 25 by 10 feet, are generally used for this work, as they afford
excellent footing for the oysterman in tonging and plenty of room for
the oysters. These scows, which have a capacity of 100 bushels, can be
anchored by stakes or iron piping, and definite areas covered by the
tonger. In the fall the oystermen make their "culls" on these scows.
Chatham is the only town in Massachusetts where scows are in general
use. Dredging is done only to a limited extent by 3 oystermen, the
others all using tongs. Twenty men are engaged from four to six months
of the year in the oyster business at Chatham.

The production for 1906-07 was 14,550 bushels, valued at $23,987. The
oyster industry has been increasing every year, the production for
1906-07 being one-third more than the 1905-06 output. The oystermen are
unanimous in saying that the oyster business of Chatham is steadily

No "seed" oysters are raised in Chatham, as no large set has ever been
caught, and all attempts in this line have proved unsuccessful. All
the "seed" oysters are brought from Greenport, L. I. These run from
two to four years old, the larger oysters being preferred. As a rule,
oystermen are forced to take what they can get when they buy seed.

The only natural enemy which infests the Chatham oyster is the oyster
drill (_Urosalpinx cinerea_). The damage done by this pest is slight,
amounting to nearly $800 annually.


No oyster industry is now carried on in the town of Harwich. A
natural oyster bed once existed in Herring River, and occasionally
a few oysters can be picked up at the present time; but the bed
is practically fished out. This bed once extended a distance of
three-quarters of a mile in the lower part of the river.

In 1824 an act was passed to prevent "the wilful destruction of oysters
and other shellfish in the town of Harwich," which shows that even as
early as 1824 the natural bed in Herring River was on the verge of

_Dennis and Yarmouth._

The oyster industries of Dennis and Yarmouth are so connected that they
will have to be considered as belonging to one town.

Four grants have been leased in the two towns, but only 2 of these are
worked. Three grants are situated in Bass River, while the fourth,
which is not operated, owing to the shifting sand, lies outside Dog
Fish Bar. The 2 grants which are worked are situated in Bass River, and
comprise an area of 10 acres of hard bottom, all of which is suitable
for oyster culture. The Bass River grants, which are taxed at the
valuation of $1,000 apiece, expire in 1914.

Mill Creek, in West Yarmouth, one of the most valuable shellfish areas
in the town, originally contained a natural oyster bed which extended
from the mouth of the creek up for 1,000 feet, comprising an area of
2-1/3 acres. Nevertheless, this was granted in 1895 for a period of ten
years. Two years ago the lease expired, and it is said that the oysters
have come in again in abundance.

All along the south shore of the two towns "seed" oysters, which have
been washed out of Mill Creek, can be picked up. A small amount of
"seed" is raised on the grants, but this is not enough to furnish the
requisite amount required for planting purposes, so about 2,500 bushels
is annually brought into the town from Oyster Bay, L. I.

No damage is done in these waters by the natural enemies of the oyster,
as both the starfish and oyster drill are very scarce.

One thousand bushels of marketable oysters, valued at $1,500, were
shipped in the season of 1906-07.

Three men are engaged for a period of seven and one-half months in the
oyster industry.

  Capital invested,                            $5,175
  Dories,                                           2
  Value of dories,                                $25
  Tongs,                                            5
  Value of implements,                            $50
  Value of shore property,                       $100
  Value of bedded oysters,                     $5,000

The oysters are taken by tonging from dories, as the water is
comparatively shallow. No dredging is done.

Yarmouth is the only town in the State which requires a license for
taking oysters from a natural bed.


Barnstable is the great oyster town of the Commonwealth, as it has
the twofold distinction of possessing the most extensive industry
and producing the finest quality of oysters. The causes which have
brought the cultivation of oysters in this town to so flourishing a
condition have been fourfold: first, Barnstable has a long coast line,
much cut up by bays and rivers, which give it a very large available
area; secondly, this area is remarkably suited for the cultivation
of oysters, as it is for the most part hard, clean bottom, in
comparatively shallow water and well sheltered from storms; thirdly,
there is little damage from the enemies of the oyster,--the starfish,
winkle and drill, fourthly, the waters of the township are notably
pure, free from contamination, and well adapted for the production of a
rapid-growing oyster of excellent quality.

Barnstable township contains several villages, three of which, Cotuit,
Marston's Mills and Osterville, are prosperous centers of the oyster
fishery. Hyannis, a fourth village, once maintained a business of this
nature, which proved unprofitable and has now practically disappeared.
Oyster grants are scattered along the shores of Popponesset River and
Bay, in Cotuit harbor, Bluff Channel, South Bay, Osterville Narrows
and at Marston's Mills. In addition, a large but indefinite territory
along the southern shore, as indicated on the map, is maintained as
experimental grants.

Cotuit is by far the most important center of the industry. Here the
fishery is conducted on an extensive scale. The white, clean sandy
bottom and the remarkably pure waters of the bay produce an oyster
with a bright, clear shell, which distinguishes it from oysters
grown elsewhere. This Cotuit oyster is much sought for by hotels and
fancy dealers, and is universally considered par excellence among
Massachusetts oysters.

Barnstable, though supporting an immense industry, has by no means
exhausted her latent resources. Extensive experiments to increase the
productive area of the town have been carried on for the past few
years. A strip of territory along the southern coast, some 4 miles
long and 3 miles wide, has been granted. This territory is of doubtful
utility, as the bottom is largely shifting sand exposed to the full
force of southerly gales. These grants have hardly been in force long
enough to demonstrate their possibilities, but it is probable that a
large territory may be thoroughly suitable for the future expansion of
the oyster industry.

Unfortunately, several oystermen did not make statistical returns,
thus rendering a complete record for the Barnstable oyster industry
impossible. The majority of the oystermen willingly responded, and the
present report comprises only those returns which have been sent in.

The total area comprised by the grants, 29 in number, is 188 acres, of
which 121 acres are of hard bottom, suitable for oyster culture. There
is very little shifting bottom. The usual Cotuit bottom is a clear
sand, which is especially favorable for the production of fine oysters.

Thirty-three men are employed from six to eight months each year in
the industry, which gave in 1906-07 a production of 25,850 bushels
of marketable oysters, valued at $48,050. Except for a small natural
oyster bed at Centerville, no "seed" is caught in Barnstable, and is
all brought from Long Island and Connecticut. Several firms plant
only large oysters, bedding them in the spring and taking them up the
following fall, when they have acquired the Cotuit flavor.

  Capital invested,                           $39,558
  Power boats,                                      4
  Value of power boats,                        $3,900
  Sail boats,                                       3
  Value of sail boats,                           $800
  Dories,                                          22
  Value of dories,                               $413
  Scows,                                            7
  Value of scows,                                $156
      Dredges,                                     23
      Tongs,                                       45
  Value of implements,                         $1,139
  Value of shore property,                     $4,300
  Value of oysters on grant,                  $28,850


The oyster industry of Mashpee is rather limited. Five grants exist in
the west channel of Popponesset River, covering practically all the
territory. Only about 5 to 10 acres of this territory is suitable for
oyster culture. The ground granted for oysters is used indiscriminately
for quahauging and scalloping, and seems to be almost public property.

But one man is engaged in the oyster business, and he rarely ships
any, but peddles them around the community. No "seed" is caught.
Starfish and oyster drills are very scarce. A cat boat, dory and tongs
constitute the capital invested, which is valued at $200. The annual
production is valued at $100.


The oyster industry of Falmouth is conducted on the south side of
the town, in the waters of Waquoit Bay. There are no oysters on the
Buzzards Bay side of the town.

According to the town records, there are 22 grants in existence. These
grants are mostly small, not averaging more than 2 to 10 acres, and are
but little cultivated. Returns from 6 of these grants, which comprise
all the territory worked for market, are alone used for the statistical

The best oyster territory is in Waquoit Bay and Child's River. In
Waquoit Bay 6 acres are granted, 4½ acres of which is hard bottom,
suitable for oyster culture. In Child's River the grants comprise 20
acres, two-thirds of which, or 13 acres, is hard bottom. Altogether,
some 44 acres are granted, and, although a good deal of the surface is
muddy, there are 23 acres of very fair oyster ground.

No business is made of raising "seed," but from two to three year old
"seed" is shipped from Greenport, L. I., and replanted.

In 1906-07, 3,012 bushels of marketable oysters, valued at $6,025, were
shipped. Many of the grants are leased to men who raise oysters for
their own use only, while but few make a business of shipping oysters.

The only enemy is the oyster drill, which does but slight damage here.

Three men are engaged for nine months each year in the oyster industry
at Falmouth; while 5 or more run grants for their own use.

  Capital invested,                            $3,080
  Power boats,                                      1
  Value of power boats,                          $800
  Sail boats,                                       1
  Value of sail boats,                           $250
  Dories,                                           4
  Value of dories,                                $75
  Scows,                                            1
  Value of scows,                                $400
      Dredges,                                      2
      Tongs,                                        6
  Value of implements,                           $105
  Value of shore property,                     $1,000
  Value of bedded oysters,                       $450

_Buzzards Bay District._

The Buzzards Bay oyster industry is in a state verging on chaos. In
some specially favored localities it is in a flourishing condition;
in others hardly less favorable it is almost completely stagnant.
Great natural advantages exist, which if properly utilized would
create a business of immense proportions. These resources are for
the most part but poorly improved, and in many cases are neglected
altogether. A spirit of uncertainty, which discourages confidence and
checks initiative, seems to pervade the business atmosphere. Amid this
uncertainty and conflicting forces, one fact, at once the starting
point of the whole difficulty and at the same time the sole solution
of the problem, stands out vividly clear. This is the need of proper

The troubles which beset the Buzzards Bay oyster industry are directly
traceable to defects in the present legislative system. These defects
are both active and passive. In some cases unwise and illogical laws
are in operation, which hamper business activity; in other cases laws
for which there is a crying need are laid aside or neglected. A reform
in certain aspects of town supervision is the demand of the hour. Until
the present system receives an overhauling, it is doubtful if the
industry will ever experience full prosperity.

In order to gain a clear insight into the difficulties which darken the
immediate outlook in this region, it will be necessary to take a brief
survey of the history and present status of the industry.

The beginnings of the oyster fishery in Buzzards Bay arose from the
exploitation and subsequent depletion of the natural beds. These beds,
of which there are several scattered along the coast from Bourne to
Mattapoisett, furnished for a long time a large annual output of
oysters. In the early '70's the supply began to decrease rapidly, and
the fear of total extermination caused the selectmen of Marion, Wareham
and Sandwich (Bourne) to attempt a strict supervision of the fishery.
These attempts were in all cases unsatisfactory, and about 1875 the
artificial culture of oysters began almost simultaneously in the three
towns by the issue of licenses or grants to private individuals. The
measure was popular from the first. Almost all the available land
was speedily appropriated, and a flourishing but exotic industry,
stimulated by a considerable outlay of capital, burst into life.

At Marion the new business lasted precisely fifteen years. The industry
was largely a losing venture. The oysters did not grow well, and were
of inferior quality. In time, doubtless, when the causes which produced
these effects had been studied, a stable and well-ordered industry
would have resulted. It is but natural to assume that where oysters
grew in a "wild" state, cultivated ones could likewise be grown. Such
an outcome, however, was not destined to follow. The grants had been so
given that they all expired at the same time. When this date arrived,
the majority of the inhabitants of Marion were of the opinion that
the oyster grants would yield far better returns if utilized merely
for the quahaugs which grew naturally on them, and the whole harbor
was consequently thrown open as common ground. From that date the
quahaug fishery has waned almost to the point of extinction, but no
efforts have been made to resurrect the old oyster industry, which has
practically disappeared.

At Bourne the industry began with bright prospects. The present
business, though somewhat impoverished, still possesses those inherent
resources which are capable of developing a more extensive industry.

At Wareham the business was of slower growth and more logical
development, and it has continued to increase, until at present the
town possesses an important industry. It has struggled with many
problems which have retarded its growth, and which still embarrass it.
These are primarily problems of legislation, as the industry stands in
need of better regulations before it can attain its maximum development.

In all these difficulties, which have been briefly outlined and hinted
at, the main source of annoyance has been the strife between two rival
factions,--the oyster and quahaug interests. These interests have ever
been at war, and the result has been almost fatally destructive to
both. The questions at stake in this controversy have been broad in
their general interest. The quahaug industry is essentially democratic,
representing roughly labor as against capital, and demands that tidal
flats and waters be kept as common property for general use. The oyster
industry, on the other hand, is essentially exclusive, representing
organized capital, and maintains that oyster grants are as much the
subject of private ownership as farms and city lots. The whole aim of
legislation has been to reconcile these wholly opposite theories. The
problem has been complex and many-sided, and it is not strange that the
selectmen of the towns in question have been unable to harmonize the
two factions or pass regulations suitable to both parties. Certain it
is that in trying to benefit both they have benefited neither, and the
present confusion has resulted.

The matter is one certainly of sufficient importance to merit attention
from the State. It is not merely local. The whole Commonwealth is
interested vitally in the development of its industries, and it is
unwise to allow so important an industry as the oyster fishery to
remain solely in the hands of local authority, especially when local
authority has shown itself unable to cope with the problem.

The present system in vogue in the Buzzards Bay district is perhaps
unfair to both parties in its policy. The selectmen may lease an
unlimited number of grants, of an unlimited area, to any citizen or
number of citizens of the town in question. Theoretically at least
they may grant all the available area in sight to one man. There must
of course be the formality of a hearing, and sufficient pressure may
be and is frequently brought to bear upon the selectmen to retard them
from exercising the full extent of their authority; but nevertheless
the system is unjust to the majority, and it is small wonder that the
quahaug fishermen feel aggrieved that some of their former privileges
are thus curtailed. Furthermore, the clause which demands that these
grants should be used for the cultivation of oysters is oftentimes
openly evaded, and a good portion of the granted area, though not used
for oysters, is closed to the quahaugers.

On the other hand, the oystermen, while apparently enjoying great
privileges, in reality are severely handicapped. An oysterman obtains
a grant perhaps with great difficulty, owing to opposition from
the quahaug men. He can carry on no extensive business without the
expenditure of considerable capital. If he "seeds" his grant, the first
two or three years are spent in the maturing of the first harvest.
The grant is given only for ten years; consequently, when it has run
for seven or eight years the owner is in doubt whether to plant any
more "seed," as he does not know that his license will be renewed and
naturally does not wish to plant a bed for his unknown successor.
Again, if he is fairly successful and wishes to expand his business,
he cannot without great risk invest in the costly equipment necessary
for such an enterprise, as he has no certainty of getting a sufficient
amount of territory or of keeping it any length of time. Furthermore,
additional complications arise from the disputes with owners of
adjoining shore property. This is particularly unfortunate, as this
tidal area along the shore is most valuable for the collection of
oyster set or "seed."

From the foregoing statements it appears that the oyster and quahaug
factions are in the position of two combatants who continue to fight,
while the object of the strife is lost to both. It is impossible to
handle so grave a problem by merely theorizing, but a few ideas might
be suggested as bearing favorably on the subject. It would seem wise
to refrain as far as possible from granting the best portions of
quahaug territory, for there is sufficient room for both industries to
flourish. Then, too, grants might be rented at so much per acre as long
as the owner desired within certain time limits, assuming that he paid
his annual rental and improved his grant. These and other suggestions
might be made which would seem an improvement over the present
circumstances; but it is doubtful if conditions can be much bettered
until some motive force and centralized authority is supplied by proper


Bourne has long supported a promising oyster industry. In some respects
it has greater advantages for the extension of this business than
Wareham, but the invested capital, the annual product and the resulting
revenue are all overshadowed by those of its neighboring rival. The
great natural resources which Bourne possesses, its extensive available
area, its multiplicity of bays, inlets, islands and rivers,--these and
a variety of other causes combine to make it a most favorable locality
for the growth of oysters; and it is indeed an unfortunate circumstance
both for the shellfish interests of the community and the broader
interests of the State that so great a source of economic wealth should
be so little improved. The vexing questions which harass the oyster
planters of Wareham and hamper their efforts are present here in even
greater force. In many places where a flourishing business was once
carried on the industry is at a standstill, while nowhere does it
evince that life and activity which its decided advantages warrant.

The town books contain records of 135 grants in force to-day. No
accurate system of charting is in vogue except in the Monument River,
and no absolutely reliable data concerning the total area is available,
but the combined territory comprised in these grants aggregates nearly
600 acres. Of this territory, however, only a portion, and a relatively
small portion, is really improved; the remainder is either allowed to
lie dormant or is worked merely for the quahaugs which it produces. The
oyster territory of Bourne is divided into five distinct sections: the
Monument River section, the region about Mashnee Island, Toby Island
and vicinity, Basset's Island and the neighborhood of Wing's Neck, and
Pocasset and the Red Brook harbor or Cataumet district. Of these five
regions, the Monument River ranks first, both in the total area and
also in importance, and it is here that most of the business is carried

The statistical returns of the Bourne oystermen show that only 42
grants comprising 100 acres are worked. Of this 83 acres is hard bottom
suitable for oyster raising while the remaining 17 acres is mostly soft

  Capital invested,                           $24,448
  Power boats,                                      3
  Value of power boats,                        $3,000
  Sail boats,                                       8
  Value of sail boats,                         $1,900
  Dories and skiffs,                               29
  Value of dories and skiffs,                    $615
      Dredges,                                     99
      Tongs,                                       38
  Value of implements,                           $483
  Value of shore property,                       $150
  Value of bedded oysters,                    $18,300

Twenty-one men make a living from the industry. The production for
the year ending Aug. 1, 1907, amounted to 2,100 bushels of marketable
oysters, valued at $4,100, and 23,000 bushels of "seed," worth $15,000.
The methods employed in oyster culture here are similar to those in use
at Wareham. Thousands of bushels of shells, preferably those of the
scallop, are strewn over the bottom to collect the set, which is then
taken up and transferred to the proper grant or shipped for sale. The
two great enemies of the oyster, the borer or drill, and the starfish,
flourish here. The borer seems more destructive in those sections which
are comparatively sheltered, the starfish in more exposed localities.

The history of the industry is one of picturesque variety. The
beginnings of the industry were bright with promise; the sudden growth
which followed was spectacular but erratic; and the difficulties
which soon arose plunged it into complications from which it emerged
much shattered and greatly declined. Originally there were three good
natural beds,--in Monument River, Barlow's River and Red Brook harbor,
respectively. These beds long supplied all the oysters produced,
and when in 1834 they began to be depleted, legislation was enacted
regulating them until 1863, when the town surveyed a number of grants
in the Monument River, each with an average area of 1½ to 10 acres,
and allowed one of these grants to every citizen desiring it, on the
payment of $2.50. These old beds still linger as rather uncertain
assets of the communal wealth. The Monument River grounds still supply
a fairly large harvest, the Barlow River has declined much more, while
the Cataumet beds are nearly extinct.

The shellfish laws of this region are of vital importance, as it is
their province to inaugurate order from chaos, put a stop to wasteful
methods, and take such steps as appear necessary for the proper
development of the industry. How greatly these laws fail in their
mission is abundantly shown by the present conditions of the fishery.
The whole situation is on the threshold of a change. What this change
will be, whether for better or worse, depends upon the legislation of
the future.


Wareham is the second town in the State in the production of oysters,
being excelled in this respect by Barnstable alone. Its commanding
position at the head of Buzzards Bay, the numerous indentations of
its coast line, and the three rivers which lie partially within its
borders, give it a wide expanse of available territory exceptionally
favorable for the development of this shellfish industry.

The substantial success which has attended the oyster business at
Wareham has been attained by slow but steady growth. Many problems have
been encountered,--problems of local prejudice, opposition from rival
industries and the like; but these problems have simply hampered the
industry,--they have not sufficed to check its growth. At present the
business seems firmly established, and can enter on its future career
of prosperity as soon as the barriers which block its progress shall
have been removed.

The town records show a total of 125 grants in operation to-day. These
grants are poorly described and for the most part unsurveyed, but their
total area approximates 1,000 acres. According to the statistical
returns of the oystermen, 70 grants, comprising 196 acres, are under
cultivation. Of this, 159 acres are of hard bottom, suitable for oyster
planting, while the waste area is equally soft mud and shifting sand.

  Capital invested,                           $40,620
  Power boats,                                      4
  Value of power boats,                        $3,800
  Sail boats,                                      17
  Value of sail boats,                         $4,485
  Dories and skiffs,                               50
  Value of dories and skiffs,                    $820
  Scows,                                            2
  Value of scows,                                $250
      Dredges,                                    120
      Tongs,                                       84
  Value of implements,                         $1,120
  Value of shore property,                     $2,420
  Value of bedded oysters,                    $27,725

The catching of oyster "seed" at Wareham is more important than the
raising of marketable oysters; 22,100 bushels of seed, valued at
$12,090, were exported last year (1906-07). Thousands of bushels
of shells, chiefly those of the scallop, are planted yearly in
shallow water, to catch the set. The territory where these shells
may be planted to the best advantage is on the fringe of tidal flats
which skirt the coast. This area, however, which is consequently of
considerable value, is of doubtful ownership, being claimed both by
the oystermen and also by the owners of the adjacent shore property.
The dispute arising over this question has been most harmful to the

The marketable oysters raised at Wareham are of very good quality.
There were 7,770 bushels of these oysters, valued at $12,790, produced
in 1906-07, and shipped mostly to New York and Boston. Altogether,
there are 26 men depending on this industry for a living.

Besides the grants, there are two native beds, one each in the Wareham
and the Weweantit rivers. These beds comprise nearly 80 acres, and,
though now greatly reduced, they still yield a considerable amount of
seed oysters.

The laws governing the industry here are similar to those at Bourne.
The ten-year grant prevails, with all its attendant evils to the
oysterman; while the quahaugers have abundant cause to complain, from
the fact that practically all the available territory has been granted
to the oystermen. While it is true that scarcely a third of this land
is utilized for the cultivation of oysters, it is likewise true that
the rights of the oystermen are by no means strictly observed by
the quahauger. There can be but one result of this policy,--endless
wrangling and confusion, and, in the end, loss to both parties.
The unfortunate thing about the whole matter is that most of this
wastefulness is entirely needless; but this is a problem for future


The oyster industry at Marion is practically dead. The last grants
expired some ten or twelve years ago, and were never renewed. Of the
two original natural beds, that in Blankinship's Cove is now almost
entirely depleted, while the larger and more important bed in the
Weweantit River has greatly declined in importance. This bed, however,
still supplies all the marketable oysters produced within the town,
though the annual production is insignificant. From twenty-five to
thirty years ago the oyster industry had its beginning, and for a time
flourished. Almost all the available territory, both in the harbor and
in the Weweantit River, was granted. The older grants were leased for
fifteen years, and those of later date were arranged to run out at the
same time; so it followed that all the leases expired simultaneously,
and the industry came to an abrupt end. These old grants were not
renewed, for two reasons: first, they had not paid very well; and,
secondly, the growing quahaug industry promised more lucrative returns.
The scallops, too, began to be abundant, and the old oyster business
gave way before its newer and more prosperous competitors.

_Fall River District._

The Fall River district, comprising the six towns of Fall River,
Freetown, Berkley, Dighton, Somerset and Swansea, may best be treated
as a geographical unit. The oyster industries of the individual
communities overlap to a considerable extent, and make distinct
separation difficult, while, as the same methods of culture everywhere
obtain and the same problems and difficulties are encountered, a brief
survey of this whole region may be comprehensively discussed in one

The beautiful shores of Mount Hope Bay and its tributary streams, the
Cole, Lee and Taunton rivers, furnish an extensive territory for a
large oyster industry. The best of this area is now included within the
confines of the bay itself, though the Cole and Lee rivers furnish a
small but valuable addition. The Taunton River, however, which thirty
years ago produced the finest oysters in the State, and was the main
source of supply for this district, has become utterly worthless
for the growth of marketable oysters. In fact, this river, with its
curious history, and the difficulties which it now presents to the
carrying on of an important and profitable industry, furnishes the
most interesting problem of this whole region. This river embraces the
entire oyster territory of Freetown, Berkley and Dighton and portions
of Somerset and Fall River,--certainly half of all the available
territory of the whole section; and yet it is an indisputable fact that
this large and formerly profitable area is now altogether unsuitable
for the production of edible shellfish.

The causes for this transformation of a river which once supplied a
large annual revenue to the prosperous communities which lined its
banks, into a stream unwholesome and unfit for the proper maturing of
its shellfish, have been much discussed. The prevailing opinion seems
to lay the blame to the impurities discharged into the river by the
Taunton factories. Other theories, ingenious but far less worthy of
weight, have been urged; but the burden of evidence strongly points to
the sewage of the city of Taunton as the probable main factor in the
decline of the industry.

While greatly impaired as a favorable territory for the propagation
of oysters, the river, however, is still largely utilized. Extensive
grants are sold by the towns of Dighton, Berkley and Freetown to
oystermen, who bed them with "seed," which is allowed to remain until
it is from two to three years old, when it is taken up and replanted in
some other locality where the waters are uncontaminated, and here left
for a certain time until it becomes "purified" and ready for shipment
to market. By this method the old grants are still worked, though
greatly declined in value, as oysters can no longer be sold to market
direct, and the process of transplanting entails considerable expense.

In the other towns of this region the industry is carried on much the
same as in Buzzards Bay or Barnstable. A great deal of attention is
paid to the enemies of the oyster, particularly the starfish. This
animal is combated chiefly with "mops" of cotton waste which are
dragged over the bottom, and the starfish, becoming entangled in the
strands, are removed and destroyed. As this fairly effectual warfare is
being constantly waged, the numbers of this pest are kept well reduced,
and the grounds maintained in very good condition.

By a peculiar local custom, which would be decidedly unpopular in some
coast communities, the towns of this section usually sell their entire
oyster privilege to some individual or company, ordinarily the highest
bidder. In this manner, aided by the fact that some persons purchasing
such rights re-sell them to others, the oyster industry of this entire
region is owned and controlled by a very few men. This arrangement,
however, does not seem to be unpopular, the only difficulty arising
from those clammers who are accustomed to dig clams under water, and
sometimes find a bed located on an oysterman's grant. In such cases
the owners usually waive their rights, and allow the clammers to dig

As has been said, the oyster industry in this district, while it has
by no means attained its maximum development, has indeed reached very
considerable proportions. The entire amount of area granted aggregates
810 acres. Of this total, some 510 acres are suitable for oyster
culture, the remainder being soft mud, shifting sand, or otherwise
unfit for utilization. The entire output for 1907 exceeded 38,000
bushels, valued at $26,250. Thirty-six men depend partially upon the
business for a livelihood.

  Capital invested,                           $96,540
  Power boats,                                      9
  Value of power boats,                       $19,500
  Dories and skiffs,                               17
  Value of dories and skiffs,                    $340
      Dredges,                                     12
      Tongs,                                       18
  Value of implements,                         $2,000
  Value of shore property,                     $6,200
  Value of oysters on grant,                  $68,500


The oyster industry of Nantucket is of recent origin, and the oysters
are as yet raised only for home consumption.

Two grants have been leased by the selectmen, but only one of these is
now planted. These grants are situated in the east and west bends of
Polpis harbor. The cultivated grant in the west bend comprises some
20 acres, only 3 of which are of hard bottom and suitable for oyster
culture, the remaining 17 having a soft mud bottom.

The "seed" planted on the grant is obtained at New Haven. In the last
few years the oysters on this grant have thrown a large quantity of
spawn, which has caught on piles and stones at various places around
Nantucket harbor.

The only enemy to the Nantucket oyster is the oyster drill.

The production of marketable oysters for 1906-07 was 200 bushels,
valued at $400. These were sold for home trade on the island.

One man is engaged in the oyster business for a period of three months
each year.

The oysters are taken both by dredging and with tongs.

  Capital invested,                            $1,358
  Power boats,                                      1
  Value of power boats,                          $500
  Dories,                                           1
  Value of dories,                                $18
      Dredges,                                      2
      Tongs,                                        1
  Value of implements,                            $15
  Value of shore property,                        $25
  Value of oysters on grant,                     $800


[15] The Oyster Industry in the United States. Tenth Census of the
United States.

[16] Returns of the Massachusetts department on fisheries and game.

CLAM (_Mya arenaria_).

_Mya arenaria_, commonly known as the "soft" or "long-neck" clam, is
found along the entire Massachusetts coast, wherever there is afforded
a sufficient shelter from the open ocean. Exposed beaches with open
surf are never inhabited by this mollusk, which is usually found on the
tide flats of bays, inlets and rivers, and on the sheltered beaches
between high and low tide lines. The clam occurs in various kinds of
soil, from rocky gravel to soft mud, but grows best in a tenacious soil
of mud and sand, where it lies buried at a depth of from 6 to 12 inches.

As Cape Cod marks the dividing line between a northern and a southern
fauna, it also divides the clam flats of Massachusetts into two
distinct areas. The same clam is found both north and south of Cape
Cod, but the natural conditions under which it lives are quite
different. In comparing these two areas, several points of difference
are noted.

(1) The clam areas of the north coast are mostly large flats, while
those of the south shore are confined to a narrow shore strip, as
Buzzards Bay and the south side of Cape Cod for certain geological
reasons do not possess flats, but merely beaches.

(2) The rise and fall of the tide is much higher on the north shore,
thus giving an extent of available flats nearly six times the clam area
south of Cape Cod.

(3) Clam growth as a rule is much faster on the north shore. This is
due to the great amount of tide flow over the river flats of the north
shore. Current is the main essential for rapid clam growth, as it
transports the food. The average south shore flats possess merely the
rise and fall of the tide, and as a rule have not the currents of the
north shore rivers.

(4) The temperature of the northern waters is several degrees colder
than the waters south of Cape Cod. This affords, as has been shown
experimentally, a longer season of growth for the southern clam. The
north shore clam in the Essex region only increases the size of its
shell through the six summer months, while the south shore clam grows
slightly during the winter.

The present advantages lie wholly with the north shore district, as
through overdigging the less extensive areas of southern Massachusetts
have become in most parts commercially barren. Overdigging has not
occurred to the same extent on the north shore, owing to the vast
extent of the flats. Nevertheless, many acres of these, as at Plymouth,
Kingston, Duxbury, and even Gloucester and Essex, have become wholly or
partially unproductive. The only important clamming in Massachusetts
to-day is found in the towns bordering Ipswich Bay. The south shore and
a good part of the north shore furnish but few clams for the market.

In view of restocking the barren areas through cultural methods, the
north shore possesses two advantages over the south shore: it has a
larger natural supply at present, which will make restocking easier; it
has larger areas of flats, which can be made to produce twenty times
the normal yield of the south shore flats. Although, compared with the
north shore, the clam area of the south shore seems poor, it is above
the average when compared with the clam areas of the other States
south of Massachusetts, and when properly restocked the clam flats of
southern Massachusetts should furnish a large annual production.

If the clam industry is not properly cared for, it will be totally
ruined before many years. The clammers do not realize this, because of
a mistaken impression that nature will forever furnish them with good
clamming, and they have little thought for the future; while, on the
other hand, the consumer is indifferent from lack of knowledge.

_Scope of the Report._--The object of this report is to present in
brief form the condition of the clam fishery in Massachusetts. For this
purpose facts showing the present extent of the industry have been
compiled, with the view of furnishing both the clammer and consumer
with certain desirable information.

The report will consider: (1) general conditions of the industry of
1907; (2) a survey of the clam-producing area, illustrated by maps;
(3) a plan of clam culture which will make productive many acres of
barren flats; (4) the history of the clam industry, a comparison being
made between the industries of 1879 and 1907; (5) a description of the

_Methods of Work._--The same methods as used with the other shellfish
were pursued in obtaining the statistical data for the clam industry.
The clam-producing areas were examined and the observations recorded.
Town records, which were of some assistance with the other shellfish,
furnished practically no clam data, compelling the Commission to
rely upon the estimates of the clammers and clam dealers. While this
method made it difficult to secure accurate detailed information, the
statistics for each town were checked up in a variety of ways, thus
furnishing as nearly correct figures as can be obtained.

In making an historical comparison of 1879 and 1907, the report
of Ernest Ingersoll on the clam fishery of the United States, and
the report of A. Howard Clark on the fisheries of Massachusetts,
as published in the United States Fish Commission Report, Section
V, volume 2, and Section II., respectively, were of great use, as
practically all of the statistics for 1879 were obtained from these two

In making the survey of the clam areas, records were made of: (1)
soil; (2) food (_a_) in water, (_b_) on surface of soil; (3) rate of
currents; (4) abundance of clams and localities of set; (5) barren
flats that can be made productive. In the present report only the kind
of soil, abundance of clams and area of barren flats will be given, the
food problem being reserved for later publication.

_Summary._--In the following summary the seacoast towns are arranged
in geographical order from north to south. The number of men includes
both regular and intermittent clammers who dig for the market; all
others are excluded. In determining the production of any town it
is impossible to obtain exactly correct figures, as the amount dug
for home consumption is an unestimable quantity, and the clams are
marketed in a number of ways, rendering it almost impossible to get
complete statistics. The production statistics have been obtained in
a variety of ways, and the final estimates have resulted from careful
consideration of all facts. The invested capital includes the clammer's
outfit and boat, but does not include personal apparel, such as boots
and oil skins.

The clam flats are divided into two main divisions: (1) productive; and
(2) barren. The barren areas are those where at present no clams grow
at all, not even scattering; and areas yielding even a few clams are
still considered productive flats, though to all practical purposes
barren. It was necessary to make the division thus, as otherwise no
decisive line could be drawn. The barren flats are divided into those
sections that can be made productive and those that can never be made
to grow clams. The productive flats, on the other hand, are divided
into areas of good clamming and areas of scattering clams which do not
support a commercial fishery. The normal production of the clam flats
has been carefully estimated, in view of the previous experiments of
the Fish and Game Commission, and the different classes of flats have
each been given a certain valuation in computing the total for each
town. The areas given of the clam flats are based upon calculations, as
no engineering survey was made.

The price of clams varies in different localities, and chiefly depends
upon the quality of clams and the method of marketing. In certain towns
clams are "shucked" (removed from the shell),--a process which greatly
increases their market value; while in other places they are sold only
in the shell. These two facts account for the apparent variation in the
value of the production in different localities, as each town is given
its own market price.

The following production table does not include an important
factor,--the amount of clams dug by the summer people. An unestimable
quantity is annually taken from the flats in this way, and is not
included in the production statistics. Indeed, summer people have
affected the clamming interests of several towns, as the selectmen
have refused to place closed seasons, etc., on certain depleted flats
in order to cater to the summer residents, who desire free clamming
near their cottages. The total number of licenses issued by the boards
of health of Boston and New Bedford for taking shellfish in their
respective harbors are given as representing the number of clammers. In
reality, however, only a few of these licensees make a regular business
of clamming.

                     SUMMARY OF THE CLAM INDUSTRY.

               |      |         |1907 PRODUCTION. |        TOTAL AREA.        |
               |      |         +--------+--------+-----+-----+-------+-------+
               |Number|         |        |        |     |     |       |Mussels|
      TOWN.    |  of  | Capital |        |        |     |     |       |and Eel|
               | Men. |invested.|Bushels.| Value. |Sand.| Mud.|Gravel.| Grass.|
  Salisbury,   |66[17]|    $625 |  15,000| $16,500|   34|  216|     - |     - |
  Newburyport, |175   |   2,700 |  55,500|  61,000|  150|  930|     - |     - |
  Newbury,     |  6   |      75 |     300|     250|  110|  250|     - |     - |
  Rowley,      | 15   |     800 |   2,000|   1,500|  250|  150|     - |     - |
  Ipswich,     |136[17]   7,500 |  25,000|  18,750|  390|  500|    55 |    25 |
  Essex,       | 50   |   1,200 |  15,000|  12,750|  500|  125|     - |    25 |
  Gloucester,  | 31   |     600 |   6,000|   8,000|  250|  200|     - |   100 |
  Manchester,  |  -   |       - |     100|     100|   10|   10|     - |     - |
  Beverly,     |  -   |       - |     100|     100|   30|   20|     - |     - |
  Salem,       |  7   |      75 |     200|     200|   75|   25|     - |     - |
  Lynn,        |  7   |     100 |   1,000|   1,000|   90|  300|     5 |     5 |
  Saugus,      | 10   |     100 |   1,000|   1,000|  100|  150|     - |     - |
  Nahant,      |  -   |       - |     300|     300|   50|  100|   100 |     - |
  Boston,      |350[18]   2,250 |   7,500|   6,000|  525|3,325| 1,380 | 1,095 |
  Cohasset,    |  -   |       - |     200|     200|   50|   50|     - |     - |
  Scituate,    |  -   |       - |     200|     200|   50|   45|     5 |     - |
  Marshfield,  |  -   |       - |     200|     200|   40|   50|    10 |     - |

               |      |  PRODUCTIVE AREA. |           |      |
               |      +--------+----------+           |      |
               |      |        |          |Barren Area| Waste| Possible
      TOWN.    |Total |  Good  |Scattering|possibly   |Barren|   Normal
               | Area |Clamming|  Clams   |Productive | Area |Production.
  Salisbury,   |   250|   150  |     100  |       -   |     -|    $70,000
  Newburyport, | 1,080|   800  |     280  |       -   |     -|    250,000
  Newbury,     |   360|     -  |     100  |     260   |     -|     40,000
  Rowley,      |   400|    20  |      80  |     300   |     -|     60,000
  Ipswich,     |   970|   400  |     420  |     125   |    25|    200,000
  Essex,       |   650|   150  |     150  |     325   |    25|    120,000
  Gloucester,  |   550|    75  |     100  |     275   |   100|     70,000
  Manchester,  |    20|     -  |       5  |      10   |     5|      2,000
  Beverly,     |    50|     -  |      10  |      30   |    10|      5,000
  Salem        |   100|     5  |      10  |      70   |    15|     11,000
  Lynn,        |   400|    10  |      30  |     160   |   200|     26,000
  Saugus,      |   250|    10  |      40  |     100   |   100|     22,000
  Nahant,      |   250|     -  |      50  |     150   |    50|     25,000
  Boston,      | 6,325|   100  |   1,180  |   1,000   | 4,045|    376,000
  Cohasset,    |   100|     -  |      10  |      40   |    50|      6,000
  Scituate,    |   100|     -  |      20  |      40   |    40|      8,000
  Marshfield,  |   100|     -  |      30  |      30   |    40|      9,000

               |      |         |1907 PRODUCTION. |        TOTAL AREA.        |
               |      |         +--------+--------+-----+-----+-------+-------+
               |Number|         |        |        |     |     |       |Mussels|
      TOWN.    |  of  | Capital |        |        |     |     |       |and Eel|
               | Men. |invested.|Bushels.| Value. |Sand.| Mud.|Gravel.| Grass.|
  Duxbury,     |    5 |      60 |     700|     600|  800|    -|     - | 2,700 |
  Kingston,    |    4 |      50 |     500|     450|  150|    -|     - |   450 |
  Plymouth,    |    6 |      60 |   3,000|   2,500|  400|  100|     - | 1,100 |
  Barnstable,  |   25 |     200 |     700|     550|  200|  150|     - |    50 |
  Yarmouth,    |    5 |      40 |     600|     500|   25|   15|    10 |     - |
  Orleans,     |   30 |     200 |   3,000|   3,000|  125|   50|    20 |     5 |
  Eastham,     |   36 |     250 |   4,000|   4,000|  100|   50|    30 |    20 |
  Wellfleet,   |   11 |     300 |     800|     640|  450|    5|   150 |     - |
  Truro,       |    1 |       2 |      50|      60|   50|    -|     - |     - |
  Provincetown,|    5 |      15 |     400|     320|  400|    -|     - |     - |
  Chatham,     |   10 |     400 |   1,500|   1,200|  330|   10|    20 |     - |
  Harwich,     |    - |       - |     100|      80|   10|   10|    10 |     - |
  Dennis,      |    - |       - |      50|      45|   25|   15|    10 |     - |
  Mashpee,     |    2 |      20 |      50|      45|   20|    5|    20 |     5 |
  Falmouth,    |    - |       - |     200|     175|   40|    5|     5 |     - |
  Bourne,      |    - |       - |     100|     100|    5|    5|    30 |     - |
  Wareham,     |    6 |     100 |     800|     800|   15|   10|    75 |     - |
  Marion,      |    1 |      15 |     100|     100|    -|    -|    10 |     - |
  Mattapoisett,|    1 |      15 |     100|     100|    -|    5|     5 |     - |
  Fairhaven,   |    - |       - |     100|     100|    -|   25|    25 |     - |
  New Bedford, |320[18]       - |     300|     225|    5|    5|    15 |     - |
  Dartmouth,   |    4 |      50 |     200|     160|   15|   10|     5 |     - |

               |      |  PRODUCTIVE AREA. |           |      |
               |      +--------+----------+           |      |
               |      |        |          |Barren Area| Waste| Possible
      TOWN.    |Total |  Good  |Scattering|possibly   |Barren|   Normal
               | Area |Clamming|  Clams   |Productive | Area |Production.
  Duxbury,     | 3,500|     5  |      10  |     800   | 2,685|    83,000
  Kingston,    |   600|     5  |       5  |     150   |   440|    18,000
  Plymouth,    | 1,600|    10  |      50  |     440   | 1,100|    58,000
  Barnstable,  |   400|    10  |      10  |     330   |    50|    39,000
  Yarmouth,    |    50|     5  |      10  |      25   |    10|     6,000
  Orleans,     |   200|    25  |      50  |      75   |    50|    27,000
  Eastham,     |   200|    25  |      50  |     100   |    25|    30,000
  Wellfleet,   |   605|     3  |      12  |     250   |   340|    28,000
  Truro,       |    50|     1  |       2  |      47   |     -|     5,000
  Provincetown,|   400|     3  |       3  |     200   |   194|    21,000
  Chatham,     |   360|    10  |      50  |     300   |     -|    44,000
  Harwich,     |    30|     1  |       5  |      10   |    14|     2,400
  Dennis,      |    50|     1  |       4  |      30   |    15|     4,200
  Mashpee,     |    50|     2  |       8  |      30   |    10|     5,400
  Falmouth,    |    50|     2  |       8  |      40   |     -|     6,400
  Bourne,      |    40|     -  |      30  |       -   |    10|     6,000
  Wareham,     |   100|     -  |      50  |       -   |    50|    10,000
  Marion,      |    10|     -  |      10  |       -   |     -|     2,000
  Mattapoisett,|    10|     -  |      10  |       -   |     -|     2,000
  Fairhaven,   |    50|     -  |      25  |      25   |     -|     7,500
  New Bedford, |    25|     -  |      15  |       -   |    10|     3,000
  Dartmouth,   |    30|     5  |      15  |       -   |    10|     5,000

               |      |         |1907 PRODUCTION. |       TOTAL AREA.         |
               |      |         +--------+--------+-----+-----+-------+-------+
               |Number|         |        |        |     |     |       |Mussels|
      TOWN.    |  of  | Capital |        |        |     |     |       |and Eel|
               | Men. |invested.|Bushels.| Value. |Sand.| Mud.|Gravel.| Grass.|
  Swansea,     |   25 |     250 |   5,000|   5,000|  100|  100|     - |     - |
  Somerset,    |    - |       - |      50|      50|    -|   25|    25 |     - |
  Dighton,     |    - |       - |      40|      40|    -|    5|     5 |     - |
  Berkley,     |    - |       - |      25|      25|    -|    5|     5 |     - |
  Freetown,    |    - |       - |     100|     100|    -|   10|    15 |     - |
  Fall River,  |    - |       - |     100|      75|    -|   20|     5 |     - |
  Nantucket,   |    4 |      40 |     400|     350|  150|   25|    25 |     - |
  Edgartown,   |    7 |      50 |   1,200|   1,000|  150|    -|    50 |     - |
      Total,   |1,361 | $18,142 | 153,865|$150,440|6,269|7,111| 2,125 | 5,580 |

               |      |  PRODUCTIVE AREA. |           |      |
               |      +--------+----------+           |      |
               |      |        |          |Barren Area| Waste| Possible
      TOWN.    |Total |  Good  |Scattering|possibly   |Barren|   Normal
               | Area |Clamming|  Clams   |Productive | Area |Production.
  Swansea,     |   200|    20  |      30  |     100   |    50|    24,000
  Somerset,    |    50|     -  |      10  |      20   |    20|     4,000
  Dighton,     |    10|     -  |       2  |       8   |     -|     1,200
  Berkley,     |    10|     -  |       4  |       6   |     -|     1,400
  Freetown,    |    25|     -  |      15  |       -   |    10|     3,000
  Fall River,  |    25|     -  |      10  |      15   |     -|     3,500
  Nantucket,   |   200|     5  |      15  |     130   |    50|    18,000
  Edgartown,   |   200|    20  |     100  |      50   |    30|    33,000
      Total,   |21,085| 1,878  |   3,233  |   6,096   | 9,878|$1,801,000

_Decline of the Natural Clam Supply._--The decline of the clam supply
is a matter of general knowledge. People who live along the seashore
realize that they can no longer gather the amount of clams they once
could dig with ease from the same flats. On the southern shore of the
State especially it is oftentimes difficult to obtain even enough for
family use. The consumer also realizes the loss of the clam, as he is
forced to pay higher prices.

If specific cases of this decline are demanded, the following instances
should show the exact depletion in the various localities. Even in the
best clam-producing town of the State, Newburyport, where the clam
production, according to statistics, has apparently increased during
the last twenty-five years (as a result of more men entering the
fishery), the supply has shown signs of failing. Essex now possesses
many acres of flats formerly productive which now lie in a practically
barren condition. Gloucester can no longer boast of her former clam
industry, as the flats in Annisquam River are in poor condition. Hardly
30 men now make a business of clamming in that town, whereas 92 men
were engaged in the fishery in 1879. Passing south of Gloucester, we
find great evidence of decline in the Boston harbor flats. Even before
the edict closing the harbor from clammers was in force, the production
did not by any means equal that of 1879. Plymouth harbor, including the
three towns of Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth, furnishes an excellent
illustration of this decline. Here an area of flats as extensive as
all the other flats of the State combined now lies practically barren,
whereas in former times great quantities of clams were taken. These
flats had already become depleted to a marked extent by 1879, and
to-day practically no clams are shipped to market from the Duxbury
flats, although you can still read "Duxbury clams" on the menus of
the hotels and restaurants, showing how important a clam industry
this town once possessed. Buzzards Bay district lies at present
unproductive except for supplying home consumption and the demands of
the summer people. The shores of Cape Cod no longer yield their former
supply of clams, and the most striking example of the extinction of a
flourishing fishery is found in the town of Chatham, which now does not
produce one-tenth part of its production in 1879. The Fall River or
Narragansett Bay district does not come up to its past productiveness,
and now chiefly yields clams which in former times would have been
considered as too small to use.

As can be seen by the following table, which gives a comparison between
the industry in 1879 and 1907, the localities south of Gloucester all
show a decline in their production, and there is no town on the coast
which has not shown some depletion in the natural clam supply. The
localities of the north shore, while indicating by their statistics a
gain in production, nevertheless have not their former abundance, and
the actual diminution of the supply is concealed by the fact that more
men have entered the industry.

                       |          1879.          |         1907.
      LOCALITY.        +-------+--------+--------+--------+--------+---------
                       |  Men. |Bushels.| Value. |  Men.  |Bushels.| Value.
  Ipswich,             |   75  | 11,500 | $4,600 |  136   | 25,000 | $18,750
  Salisbury and        |       |        |        |        |        |
      Newburyport,     |   60  | 28,800 | 11,520 |  241   | 70,500 |  77,500
  Essex,               |   75  | 11,500 |  4,500 |   50   | 15,000 |  12,750
  Gloucester,          |   92  | 13,978 |  5,200 |   31   |  6,000 |   8,000
  Boston harbor,       |   90  | 40,000 | 20,000 | 350[19]|  7,500 |   6,000
  Duxbury,             |  -[20]|  5,000 |  2,500 |    5   |    700 |     600
  Plymouth             |  -[20]|  5,000 |  2,500 |    6   |  3,000 |   2,500
  Harwich,             |   15  |  1,125 |    400 |    -   |    100 |      80
  Chatham,             |  150  | 35,000 | 12,250 |   10   |  1,500 |   1,200
  Nantucket,           |  -[19]|  2,253 |    872 |    4   |    400 |     350
  Edgartown,           |  -[20]|  4,000 |  1,570 |    7   |  1,200 |   1,000
  New Bedford district,|  -[20]|  5,800 |  2,900 | 332[19]|  1,600 |   1,685
  Fall River district, |  -[20]|  3,375 |  3,121 |   25   |  5,315 |   5,290

_Causes of the Decline._--The same cause which has been stated in the
general report has contributed to the decline of the clam supply,
_i.e._, the increasing demand which has led to overfishing. Thus the
decline can be directly attributed to the exploiting of natural clam
resources by man, although it must be admitted that natural agencies,
such as geographical changes, destroy the clam flats of certain
localities and build up others.

This decline has become possible through the indifference of the towns
to the welfare of their clam fishery, and by not restricting, through
town laws, the extermination of the clams in time to allow nature to
replenish the flats. Some towns, such as Ipswich, have regulated this
matter by placing closed seasons on portions of the flats, which has
been the partial means of preserving their natural supply. Thus the
town laws have proved inadequate, as most towns have no laws at all, or
have such unwise ones that they often defeat their own object.

It is again necessary to emphasize the need of reform in the clam
industry. This Commonwealth once possessed an extensive supply of
clams, and still possesses part of its former abundance; but the
present supply is diminishing at such a rate that it will not be
a quarter of a century before the natural clam fishery will be
commercially extinct. On the south shore clams are now commercially
extinct, and it is only a question of time, if the present methods are
allowed to remain, before the north shore clams will also disappear.
The experiments of the Massachusetts department of fisheries and game
and the work of men who have planted this shellfish all show that
thousands of dollars can be brought into the State by utilizing the
waste clam areas, and that the production can be so increased as to
even exceed that of former years. Immediate action is necessary, if
this important industry is to be saved.

_The Remedy._--The remedy is comparatively simple, and abundant proof
of its success is at hand. By restocking the barren and unproductive
areas of the Commonwealth the present production can be increased many
times. Experiments have shown that clams can be readily, successfully
and economically transplanted, and that it is a completely practical
undertaking. Not only can the barren areas be restocked, but the yield
of the productive areas can be much increased. Clam farming is the only
practical method of restocking these areas, and only through such means
can the clam flats be made to yield their normal harvest.

_Clam Farming._

The subject of clam farming has received a good deal of attention the
past few years, and much has been said concerning the enormous profits
which would result from the cultivation of this shellfish. While the
newspaper statements have been for the most part correct, there has
been considerable exaggeration and many details have been inaccurate.
To remove any misapprehensions, the following account of clam farming
is given.

The value of clam farming has been perhaps overestimated. While no
fabulous returns are ever to be expected, the yield is large in
proportion to the labor, and steady returns are sure. The methods
used are simple, the capital required is small, the area suitable for
raising clams is extensive, and clam farming gives promise of becoming
one of the most prominent and remunerative shore industries. The
profits derived from such a system should furnish steady employment for
hundreds of men on the Massachusetts coast.

Massachusetts possesses thousands of acres of tidal flats which are
capable of producing clams. Most of these flats are practically barren,
_i.e._, produce no clams in paying quantities, and yet if planted with
small clams will yield in from one to two years large quantities of
marketable bivalves. This large area of barren flats should be divided
into small farms, which should be leased to individuals for the purpose
of planting and raising clams.

_The Necessity of Clam Farming._--It is a well-known fact that the
natural supply of clams is becoming rapidly exhausted, and that this
important fishery will become commercially extinct unless steps are
taken to check its decline. The only practical means known at the
present time is _clam farming_. In the past, methods such as close
seasons and restricting the catch have been used, but with poor
results, as these have been economically wrong. The correct method
in such cases is not to restrict the demand, but to increase the
supply. Clam farming offers the only means of increasing the natural
production, and not only checking the decline, but establishing a large

_Is Clam Farming Practical?_--Clam farming is not a theory but an
_established fact_. Clams will grow if planted in suitable places, and
will yield large returns. For three years the Commission of Fisheries
and Game have made numerous experiments in clam farming in many
seacoast towns. They have not only proved its complete practicability,
but have also shown that large profits result from successful planting.
Records are on file at the State House showing the exact results of
these experimental farms, which indicate the future success of clam

Besides the experiments of the Commission on Fisheries and Game,
_successful clam farming_ is now being carried on in several towns of
the State. The leading town in this line is Essex, where at least 15
grants are held by the clammers. The only protection given is based
upon public sentiment, which, however, is sufficient to insure the
success of the enterprise. All these grants were staked out on flats
which were producing no clams when granted, although part of this
area was once very productive. So far these grants have proved most
successful, thus proving by actual experience that clam farming is a
worthy rival of agriculture.

_Historical Attempts at Clam Farming._--Clam farming has been in
existence for years. The first record of any legislation upon this
subject is found in an act to regulate the clam fishery in and around
the shores of Plymouth, Kingston and Duxbury in 1870, whereby a license
was granted for a term not exceeding five years to any inhabitant
of these towns to plant, cultivate and dig clams. This license cost
$2.50, and gave the exclusive use of the flats and creeks described
to the licensee and his heirs during the time specified, and also the
right in an action of tort to recover treble damages from any person
who, without his consent, dug or took clams from said grant. Evidently
nothing was done to follow out this law, which was soon forgotten.

In 1874 an act was passed to regulate the shellfisheries (including
clams) in the waters of Mount Hope Bay and its tributaries. The terms
of this act were practically the same as the Plymouth act, the only
difference being the substitution of the word _shellfish_ for _clam_.

In 1888 an act was passed by the town of Winthrop, authorizing the
planting of clams on the shores of that town. The grant was to consist
of not over 2 acres of _barren_ flats, situated more than 500 feet from
high-water mark. The other provisions of this act were the same as
those of the Plymouth act of 1870.

The most important clam culture law was passed in 1888. This authorized
the planting of clams on the shores of Essex. Here the provisions of
the law were followed out, and the first energetic attempt at clam
farming started. The law, the provisions of which were nearly the same
as the previous laws, reads as follows:--

ACTS OF 1888, CHAPTER 198.

                           SHORES OF ESSEX.

    _Be it enacted, etc., as follows:_

    SECTION 1. The selectmen of the town of Essex may by writing
    under their hands grant a license for such a term of years, not
    exceeding five, as they in their discretion may deem necessary
    and the public good requires, to any inhabitant of said town,
    to plant, cultivate and dig clams upon and in any flats and
    creeks in said town now unproductive thereof, not exceeding two
    acres to any one person, and not impairing the private rights
    of any person.

    SECTION 2. Such license shall describe by metes and bounds
    the flats and creeks so appropriated and shall be recorded by
    the town clerk before it shall have any force, and the person
    licensed shall pay to the selectmen for the use of said town
    two dollars and to the clerk fifty cents.

    SECTION 3. The person so licensed and his heirs and assigns
    shall for the purposes aforesaid have the exclusive use of
    the flats and creeks described in the license during the term
    specified therein, and may in an action of tort recover treble
    damages of any person, who, without his or their consent digs
    or takes clams from such flats or creeks during the continuance
    of the license.

    SECTION 4. Said town of Essex at any legal meeting called for
    the purpose may make such by-laws, not repugnant to the laws of
    the commonwealth, as they may from time to time deem expedient
    to protect and preserve the shellfisheries within said town.

    SECTION 5. Whoever takes any shellfish from within the waters
    of said town of Essex in violation of the by-laws established
    by it or of the provisions of this act shall for every offence
    pay a fine of not less than five or more than ten dollars
    and costs of prosecution, and one dollar for every bushel of
    shellfish so taken.

    SECTION 6. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
    [_Approved April 9, 1888._]

In the report of the United States Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries
for 1894 Mr. Ansley Hall gives the following account of clam culture
under this act:--

    During the first two years (1889-90) the people were slow to
    avail themselves of the privilege of planting, for fear that
    after they had spent their time and labor they would not be
    able to secure protection from trespassers; but in 1891 and
    1892 lots were obtained and planted. In 1892 there were 25
    acres that were quite productive, about one-third of the entire
    catch of the section being obtained from them. The catch from
    these lots is not definitely known, but is estimated at about
    2,500 barrels.

    Cultivated clams possess some advantage over the natural
    growth, from the fact that they are more uniform in size, and
    are as large as the best natural clam. They bring $1.75 per
    barrel, while the natural clams sell for $1.50 per barrel. This
    is the price received by the diggers. One acre of these clams
    is considered to be worth $1,000, if well seeded and favorably
    located so as not to be in danger of being submerged with sand.
    This valuation would be too high for an average, since all the
    acres are not equally well seeded and located. The clammers
    are generally impressed that the industry can be extensively
    and profitably developed, and their only fear is that they
    will not be able to secure lots permanently. The greater part
    of the land available for this purpose is covered by the deeds
    of people owning farms along the river, and the consent of the
    land owners has to be obtained before lots can be taken up.
    It seems probable, however, that the business will continue
    to progress unless checked by complications that may arise
    relative to the occupancy of the grounds.

The result of this first practical attempt at clam culture was a
complete failure, and after a few years' trial the clam farms were all
given up. The main reason for this failure was lack of protection both
from outsiders and from one another. Nevertheless, this attempt proved
that with proper protection a most successful industry could be made of
clam farming. The following statement by Prof. James L. Kellogg, in the
United States Fish Commission Bulletin for 1899, describes the failure
of clam culture at Essex:--

    It is not difficult to determine the reasons for the failure
    of the culture experiment at Essex. The areas upon which clams
    were planted were those which were at the time unproductive.
    The beds still containing clams--the "town flats"--were free
    to any native of Essex. The one thing which was absolutely
    necessary to the success of any planter was that the clams on
    his leased ground should not be disturbed by other diggers.
    This protection was apparently not given in any case by the
    town authorities, and, as no person lived within sight of the
    majority of the beds, it was quite impossible for any man to
    guard his property much of the time.

    As to what followed it is not easy to obtain definite testimony
    from the clammers themselves. Other citizens of the town,
    however, and some few clammers, intimate that most of the men
    began to take clams from any property but their own, and that
    in this way the full result of no man's labor in planting was
    ever realized. Others who did not make clam digging a regular
    business, but only dug occasionally, are said to have had no
    respect for the rights of those who had leased property. It was
    said that at times when vessel builders and the shoe factory
    released employees, many of them, for lack of other occupation,
    turned their attention to clam digging, with the result that
    too many clams were at the time taken from the flats.

    Another reason for the failure of the Essex experiment is that
    a number of short-sighted clammers began to fear, after the
    clams had been planted, that the production might suddenly
    become so great as to glut their market, and, as a consequence,
    force prices down. Some few individuals, inspired by this fear,
    are reported to have said and to have done everything in their
    power to prevent the success of the experiment. In all cases,
    it is said, the selectmen of the town, who issued the leases,
    refused their aid in the prosecution of trespassers.

    In spite of the fact, which had been demonstrated in the
    experiment, that when properly planted the clams grew much more
    rapidly and became much larger than on the natural beds, no
    applications for a renewal of the leases were made when the
    first ones expired. No change in the condition at Essex may be
    hoped for until there is some evidence that a law protecting
    the planter will be strictly enforced. With proper protection,
    a great industry might, and probably would, be quickly
    established, not only in Essex, but in any region where clam
    flats are now unproductive because of excessive digging.

_Protection Necessary._--The same lack of protection which ruined the
Essex clam experiments has been the cause of similar failures in other
shore towns. As long as no protection is given, clam farming can never
become possible, as the whole success of the enterprise depends wholly
upon the planter's having complete control of his land. The present
law gives absolutely no protection, as according to the old free beach
law a person has a right to dig a mess of clams anywhere between the
tide lines, no matter whether natural or planted. This practically
discourages clam farming, however profitable, as no clammer is going to
the labor and expense of planting clams, if the next person who comes
along has a legal right to dig as many as he pleases. Until a law is
passed which gives to the clam planter absolute protection from this
sort of trespassing, and does away with the antiquated free fishing
law, clam culture can never become a successful industry.

_Present Clam Culture._--In 1906 grants of barren flats were again
issued for the purpose of clam culture in Essex, and this time the
attempt seemed successful. Two things encouraged this: the excellent
results of the experiments in Essex River by the Commission on
Fisheries and Game, and the possible results indicated by the
experiments of 1888. The only protection for these clam grants is by
public sentiment, and the mutual agreement of all the clammers to
respect the rights of the individual. So far there has been no trouble
from trespassing and the lack of protection, which caused the failure
of first attempts. It is hoped that these clam farms will become
permanently successful, despite the lack of protection, as they will
greatly increase the production of the Essex clam flats.

_Clam Farming and Agriculture._--The comparison between clam farming
and agriculture is very close, and both possess many common features,
though there are several points of difference. The clam obtains its
sustenance entirely from the water, while agricultural products obtain
their nourishment chiefly from the soil. The nitrogenous waste products
of the land washed into the streams furnish the nourishment to the
little marine plants (diatoms) on which the clams feed.

_Rate of Growth of the Clam._--The report of the Commission on
Fisheries and Game for the year 1906 contains the following

_What is the natural growth of the clam per year?_

There is great diversity in the growth of the clam, owing to the
location in respect to three essential conditions,--current, length
of time submerged, and soil. The following figures give briefly the
general trend of results from numerous experimental beds under great
variety of conditions. For simplicity, a 1-inch clam is taken as the

A 1-inch clam will grow in one year to a size between 2 and 3 inches.
Under fairly favorable conditions, with a moderate current, a 1-inch
clam will increase to 2½ inches, or a gain of 900 per cent, in volume.
For every quart planted, the yield in one year will be 9 quarts. For
beds without current, 1-inch clams average about 2 inches, or a gain
of 500 per cent.; _i.e._, five quarts for every quart planted. Beds
under exceptionally fine conditions have shown the amazing return of
15 quarts for every quart of 1-inch clams planted. Clams increased in
these beds from 1 to 3 inches in length. Therefore, by planting clams 1
inch or over, under _favorable_ conditions a _marketable_ clam can be
produced in _one year_.

_What is the maximum production per square foot?_

The number of clams per square foot that can be raised to the best
advantage depends upon the location of the flat in respect to natural
conditions. Clams thickly planted (15 to 20 per square foot) in
favorable locations may show a greater growth than when thinly planted
(5 per square foot) in less favorable locations; therefore, no definite
statement can be made which will apply in all cases. The only rule
that can be given is that a flat with a current will produce a greater
number of clams per square foot than one without a current. On good
flats clams can be planted conveniently and economically from 10 to 15
per square foot, or even a larger number.

_What results can be obtained by planting on barren flats?_

There are two groups of flats which come under the term barren:
(1) flats which once produced clams in great numbers, but now are
practically barren, except for an occasional clam here and there;
(2) flats which never have produced clams, and on which for physical
reasons clams can never grow. The first group of flats is alone
considered in this answer.

Experimental beds were planted on certain flats in the Essex River
which come within the first group of barren flats. These once
productive flats had been cleaned out in the past, and for some reason
had not seeded naturally. Forty beds were laid out under all kinds of
conditions, with the object of finding a way to make these once more
productive. Results have been all that could be hoped for. Only 4 poor
beds were found, out of the 40 laid out; 36 beds were in thriving
condition. It should be noted that no attempt was made to choose the
best places, but all conditions were tried. Over two-thirds of the
clams were re-dug, the increase averaging, in terms of 1-inch clams,
over 1,000 per cent., or 10 quarts for every quart planted the year

If many acres of Massachusetts flat, idle at present, are capable of
such a yield, should such economic waste be allowed? Why should not
the towns, by the expenditure of a little money, restock flats such as
these for the benefit of their inhabitants? I do not say that all flats
can be made productive in this way, as I know of many cases where the
mere sowing of seed clams will not restock a flat; but I do say that
Massachusetts possesses enough flats of the former nature, which should
be made a profit to her clammers. Clam set occurs, as Mr. Stevenson
shows in his report, in large quantities; the transportation of seed
clams is easy; planting requires little labor, the practical way being
to sow the clams, which burrow readily; while the yield in proportion
to the labor is enormous.

_What sized clams are best for planting?_

The size best adapted must be determined for each flat. Shore flats
with little current will allow the planting of any size, from ¼ inch
up; flats with a swift current necessitate a larger clam (1 to 1½
inches), as the smaller will be washed out of its burrow; soft mud also
demands a larger clam, as the smaller will be stifled by the oozy silt.

_What are the physical conditions that influence the growth of clams?_

There appear at least three essential conditions for rapid growth of
clams: (1) a good current; (2) low and level flat; and (3) a tenacious
soil, relatively free from decaying matter.

A low flat gives the clams longer feeding periods, as the water remains
over them longer, therefore there is a greater growth. This has been
experimentally shown by Dr. A. D. Mead.

According to Prof. J. L. Kellogg, clams cannot do well in a soil
which contains much decaying organic matter, as the acids eat away
the shells. Soils of this description also facilitate the spread of
infection from one clam to another.

Current is the chief essential for successful clam culture. The term
"current" does not imply a rapid flow of water, but rather a good
circulation of water over the flat. In the Essex and Ipswich rivers the
clam flats have a continuous current. On such flats the growth is more
rapid than on flats which have no circulation of water, in addition to
the mere rise and fall of the tide. The current performs the work of
(1) keeping the flats clean and carrying away all contamination, but
its most important work is as (2) _food carrier_.

_Value of a Clam Farm._--The value of an acre of clam flats, if
properly cultivated, is about $450 per year for the average clam flat.
Many of the more productive flats will yield a far greater amount,
while others will not yield as much. It has been often erroneously
stated that an acre of clam flats would produce $1,000 per year. This
is a decided overestimation, as it would be hardly possible for the
most productive flat to yield that amount. It is possible, however,
for a good flat to yield about $750 per year, but this is only under
the most favorable conditions. Such yields as these are large for the
clammer, whose average yearly income is only $400 (a few of the more
expert clammers make possibly $700 to $750), and a man possessing a
clam farm of 1½ to 2 acres would make a good living.

_Method of operating a Clam Farm: choosing the Ground._--In choosing
a grant, the planter should have in mind three things: (1) the
accessibility of the grant, for his own convenience, and nearness to
the market, as much of the success of clam farming depends upon the
expense of marketing the product, and the ease with which it can be
disposed of; (2) the length of time allowed for labor by the exposure
of the flat (flats vary greatly in the amount of time exposed each
tide, the low flats being submerged nearly all the time, and the high
flats having a much longer exposure),--a high flat possesses the
advantage of allowing a longer working period for the clammer; (3)
the natural facilities of the flat itself as regards the growth of
clams. Moreover, the flat should be chosen in regard to (1) soil; (2)
current; (3) tide. A good flat should have a soil which is tenacious
and compact, affording at the same time easy digging. Probably the best
soil is a mixture of fine sand and mud in a ratio of one-third mud
to two-thirds sand, as this amount of mud gives the right degree of

The growth of a clam depends upon the circulation of water over the
flat, as the current carries the food, and, therefore, the more current
the more food for the clams. Current also keeps the bed clean, and
prevents contamination and disease from spreading among the clams.
Then, again, the growth of a clam depends upon the amount of water over
the bed; _i.e._, length of time covered. The clam can only feed when
the tide is over the bed, and thus the feeding time is limited for
the higher flats. While experiments have shown that clams grow faster
when continually under water than when exposed part of the time, the
question of tide is not so great a factor as that of current in regard
to clam growth, and can be almost disregarded.

The best flat for clam planting is a _fairly high flat_ with a _good
current_ over it, as it gives nearly as rapid growth and a much longer
period to dig than a flat which is exposed only a short period. This
flat must have the right kind of soil, which must not be shifting sand
or too soft mud, but a compact, tenacious mixture.

_The Seed Clams._--Nature has provided the means of stocking these
farms. The set of clams is usually restricted to certain localities,
which, however, vary from time to time, and heavy sets are found in
limited areas. These sets run as thick as 2,000 per square foot of
surface, occasionally covering an area of 3 acres. From these natural
set areas the natural clam flats are partially restocked by the washing
out of the small clams. More often these whole sets are wasted, as
the clams, instead of washing on the good flats, are carried to
unproductive places and consequently perish. Thus there are areas of
heavy set which are of no use to any one, as practically all the clams
perish before they become adults. These areas of heavy set occur in
nearly every harbor of the coast to a greater or less extent, and are
available for nearly every town.

The problem now is to make use of these large sets, and not allow them
to go to waste. It has been shown that these clams when transplanted
will grow much faster, and will not perish; therefore, clam farming
offers both the possibility of saving these natural sets and utilizing
barren ground.

Methods of spat collecting have been constantly referred to in
connection with clam farming, especially by the Rhode Island Fish
Commission, and the impression has been given that clam farming can
never become a success until some practical method of spat collecting
has been found. With the soft clam there is no need of any method
of spat collecting, as the natural set is more than sufficient for
restocking the barren flats. All that is necessary is to utilize
the enormous natural sets. If this is done, the barren flats of
Massachusetts can be made productive.

The main difficulty is in devising some method of obtaining the small
clams with sufficient rapidity. As the nature of the soil and the
size of the clams vary, no one method can apply to every case, and it
depends upon the ingenuity of the clammer. The methods used at present
are: (1) digging with an ordinary clam hoe, which is slow work; (2)
digging in shallow water, so that the clams may be washed out; (3)
digging a series of trenches across the heavy set area, and scooping
out the clams washed in these trenches; (4) carrying both sand and
clams by the dory load; (5) by using a sieve, in the form of a cradle,
which washes the clams out in the water. This last method is the most
successful for small clams, and has been used by the commission in
obtaining seed clams for their experimental beds. By using a cradle 3
by 2 feet, covered with sand wire netting, clams which ran 3,000 per
quart, were obtained by 3 men at the rate of 2 bushels an hour,--an
amount sufficient to plant from 1/25 to 1/10 of an acre.

Another problem of importance is the transportation of seed clams, as
in many instances the clams will have to be carried some distance.
The best method of shipping seed clams is to pack them dry in damp
sea weed, putting them in small packages, so they will not be crushed
by their own weight. The best though most expensive method is to pack
the clams in crates, such as are used for strawberries. It has been
found that clams kept in water are not in such good condition as those
shipped dry, and it is of the utmost importance that the clams be in
good condition when planted.

The length of time a clam will live out of its natural element depends
upon the temperature; in cold weather it will keep for several days,
and even weeks; while in warm weather the seed clam will be in poor
condition after one day's exposure.

_Preparing the Grant._--Usually the ground needs no preparation, and
the clams can be planted at once. It is a good plan to remove any
mussels and any of the enemies of the clam from the grant.

_Planting the Clams._--The planting of the seed clams is perhaps the
easiest work of the clam culturist, as it necessitates merely the
sowing of the seed on the surface of the flat. The small clams when
left this way burrow into the ground as soon as the water is over them,
and require no planting on the part of the culturist.

_Working the Farm._--This style of farming requires no cultivation for
the growth of the clams. Once planted, the farmer has no further work
until the time when he is ready to dig them. The clams grow better
when undisturbed than when the soil is upturned by frequent digging.
Protection from man and the natural enemies of the clam demand the
attention of the owner at all times.

_Harvesting the Clams._--The time of digging will vary as to the size
of clam desired and the rate of growth on the grant. The clam farmer
can cater to a particular trade by regulating the size of the clams
marketed. He may find it more profitable to market a small clam after a
short period of growth, or _vice versa_, on the same principle that a
farmer raises hogs for the market.

North of Boston, in localities favorable for fast growth, such as the
Essex and Ipswich rivers, by planting large seed of at least l½ inches
in the spring, marketable clams of 2½ to 3 inches can be obtained in
the fall after six months' growth. Here the clams grow only during the
summer months, and nothing would be gained by leaving them over winter.
In this way a crop each year can be raised on these farms. In other
localities of slower growth it will take from eighteen to twenty-four
months to raise a crop. The clam farmer will have to regulate the size
of the seed and length of growth to best suit the needs of his farm.

_Advantages of Clam Farming._--Clam culture possesses several
advantages over the old free-for-all digging: (1) steadier returns; (2)
easier work; (3) better pay; (4) more clams per man. If the clammers
of the Commonwealth only realized these facts they would make a united
effort toward clam culture.


I. _Early History._--The history of the Massachusetts clam industry
began in obscurity. Even before the time of the earliest settlers the
native Indians depended largely upon this abundant mollusk for their
food supply, as is clearly indicated by the scattered shell heaps which
mark their ancient camp fires. Upon the arrival of the Pilgrims, clam
digging was incorporated among the most time-honored industries of the
Commonwealth, and in times of want the early colonists depended largely
upon this natural food supply. With the arrival of the colonists really
began the first epoch of the clam fishery as an economic factor in
this Commonwealth, a period which lasted nearly two hundred years.
This period marked the exploitation of clam grounds merely for home
consumption. Money was scarce, inland markets were practically unknown,
and the importance of this shellfish was confined merely to local

II. _Rise of the Bait Industry._--Early in the last century a growing
demand for clams as bait for the sea fisheries became apparent.
Clams had always been utilized for this purpose more or less, but an
increased demand called for the development of an important industry in
this line. Various centers of activity were established, particularly
at Newburyport, Essex, Ipswich, Boston harbor and Chatham. The clams
were mainly shucked, that is, removed from the shell, and shipped
either fresh or salted in barrels to the fishermen at Gloucester,
Boston and Provincetown. This industry opened up new fields of
employment for many men and boys, and brought considerable ready money
into various coast communities.

III. _The Development of Inland Markets._--The consumption of clams
for food in the coast towns continued throughout the rise and gradual
decline of the bait industry, but the creation of inland markets did
not begin to be an important factor until 1875. It was about this time
that the clam came to be generally looked upon throughout the State
as an article of food, and consequently an important industry was
gradually evolved to meet this growing demand. This step marked the
beginning of the extensive fishery of the present day.

The mistaken policy of the average shellfish community, which
regarded clam grounds as natural gardens of inexhaustible fertility,
still persisted even after the fallacy of this policy had long
proved apparent through the depletion of extensive tracts. The same
ill-advised methods were pursued to the ultimate ruination of much
valuable territory. All wise regard for the future was overshadowed
by the immediate needs of the present; local legislation fostered the
evil; State legislation was conspicuous by its absence; and, left to
the mercy of unsystematic overdigging, these natural resources rapidly
wasted away.

The disastrous tendencies which have lurked in the ruling policy of
the clam fishery have been shown in the rise and fall of the industry
in certain localities. Forty years ago Duxbury and Plymouth ranked
as the greatest clam towns of the coast. Their supply has long since
become insignificant. Newburyport and Ipswich have become the chief
producers of the State clam harvest; but Essex and Gloucester, in the
same fertile regions, have greatly declined, and the industry at Rowley
has become nearly extinct. In the Fall River district the digging of
small seed clams for food has brought the fishery to the verge of ruin.
The few resources of Buzzards Bay have become nearly exhausted, while
on Cape Cod the industry has shown here and there a temporary increase,
overshadowed by a far more extensive decline, such as at Chatham.
Furthermore, the sewage contamination of coast waters in the harbors of
Boston and several other large cities have closed extensive regions for
the production of food.

IV. _Attempts to develop the Industry._--Various efforts have been
made to restrain overdigging the clam flats, by local regulations,
particularly by "close" seasons. These attempts have been productive
of little good. Other efforts, designed to develop extensive tracts
made barren by wasteful methods of fishing, have been put in operation.
These efforts have been along two independent lines: the first, an
effort on the part of the community to seed in common flats by the
appropriation of money for that purpose, as in the case of Wellfleet;
the second, an attempt to arrive at the same end by leasing private
grants to individuals, as at Essex and Plymouth. These efforts, while
tending in the right direction, have not as yet yielded the results
that might be wished for. Within the past three years the State has
taken hold of the problem, and by an extensive series of experiments is
endeavoring to devise practical means of developing the great inherent
possibilities in this extensive industry.


         |          |         |
   YEAR. | Bushels. |  Value. | Price per Bushel
         |          |         |     (Cents).
   1880, | 158,626  | $76,195 |      41.73
   1887, | 230,659  | 121,202 |      52.54
   1888, | 243,777  | 127,838 |      52.44
   1889, | 240,831  | 137,711 |      57.14
   1892, | 191,923  | 133,529 |      69.57
   1898, | 147,095  | 102,594 |      69.74
   1902, | 227,941  | 157,247 |      68.98
   1905, | 217,519  | 209,545 |      96.19

_The Clam Industry._

_Methods of Digging._--The ordinary method of taking clams is so simple
as hardly to need explanation. Although simple, clam digging requires
considerable skill, and it takes years of experience to become a good

There are two methods of clam digging used in Massachusetts,--the
"wet" and the "dry" digging. Wet digging is carried on when water is
over the clam beds; dry digging, which is the common method, takes
place when the flats are left exposed by the tides. The only places in
Massachusetts where wet digging is carried on regularly are Eastham,
Chatham, Swansea, and in Katama Bay, Edgartown. In the lower end of
Katama Bay is found a submerged bed of clams which is one of the most
productive beds of this class in Massachusetts. These submerged clams
are taken with what is known locally as a "sea horse," which is an
enlarged clam hoe, with prongs 12 to 14 inches long, and a strong
wooden handle four feet in length. This handle has a belt attachment
which is buckled around the clammer. Two men are required for this
work. The sea horse is worked deep into the loose sand and is dragged
along by one man, who wades in the shallow water over these submerged
flats, while his partner follows, gathering the clams which the sea
horse roots out. Another method of wet digging is called "churning,"
and is based on the same principle as the above method, only the clams
are turned out under water by long forks or hoes. This method is not
used in Massachusetts to any extent. Excellent results are usually
obtained from wet digging.

The methods used in dry digging depend upon the nature of the soil.
The difference lies only in the kind of digger. The clam hoe of the
south shore, where the soil is either coarse sand or gravel, has broad
prongs, some even being 1¼ inches across. The usual number of prongs
is four, but occasionally three broad prongs suffice. The clam hoe of
the north shore, often called "hooker," has four thin, sharp prongs
and a short handle. The set of this handle is a matter of choice with
the individual clammers, some preferring a sharp, acute angle, and
others a right angle. This style of clam hoe is best suited for the
hard, tenacious clam flats of the north shore. At Essex spading forks
are used for clamming, but not as extensively as the hooker. For sand
digging the forks are said to be better, while for mud digging the
hooker is preferred.

_Outfit of a Clammer._--The outfit of a clammer does not require much
outlay of capital. A skiff or dory, one or two clam hoes and three or
four clam baskets complete the list. Occasionally, as at Ipswich, where
the clam grounds are widely scattered, power dories are used, and this
necessitates the investment of considerable capital; but the investment
of the average clammer does not exceed $26. Personal apparel, such as
oilskins and boots, are not considered under this head.

                            CLAMMING OUTFIT.

  Skiff dory,                                  $22.00
  Two clam diggers,                              1.50
  Four clam baskets,                             2.00
      Total,                                   $25.50

The boats most often used by the north shore clammers are called "skiff
dories," and in construction are between a dory and a skiff. These
boats are especially adapted for use in rivers.

_Marketing._--Clams are shipped to market either in the shell or
"shucked out." Two rules are followed by the clammers in making this
distinction: (1) small clams, or "steamers," are shipped in the
shell, especially during the summer months, while the large clams are
"shucked;" (2) the fine-appearing sand clam is usually sold in the
shell, while the unprepossessing mud clam is shucked, _i.e._, the
shell and the external covering of the siphon or neck are removed.
This causes on the north shore a division by locality. The Ipswich and
Essex clams, except for a few individual orders, are mostly shipped to
market in the shell, while the Annisquam River and Newburyport clams
are usually shucked in the winter. Little if any shucking is done by
the south shore clammers.

Shucking almost doubles the value, as a bushel of clams, worth in the
shell 75 cents, will furnish, when soaked, about 10 quarts of shucked
clams, which bring about 50 cents per gallon, or a total of $1.25 when
marketed. The shucked clams are put through a process of soaking in the
same way the scallop "eyes" are treated before marketing. They absorb
a sufficient quantity of fresh water, after soaking six hours, to
increase their bulk about one-third and give a plump appearance to the

While many clammers do not soak their clams, it seems to be a universal
tendency, wherever clams are shucked, to gain by this method. Soaking
of any sort impairs the flavor of the clam, and for this reason such a
practice is to be deplored, but as long as the consumer is satisfied
to take second-rate goods, this practice will continue, and it can be
stopped only by the united demand of the shellfish dealers.

_Shipment._--Second-hand flour and sugar barrels are used for the
shipment of clams in the shell, while kegs and butter tubs hold the
shucked clams. In winter clams can be shipped inland without perishing;
but in hot weather they will spoil in a few days, unless iced.

_Maine Clams._--Massachusetts annually consumes many thousand barrels
of Maine clams. If the demand of the Boston market were not partially
met by the influx of Maine clams, the clam flats of Massachusetts would
be subject to a greater drain.

_Market._--The principal market for the clam industry of Massachusetts
is Boston. Gloucester, Newburyport, Salem and Lynn draw part of
the clam trade of the north shore, but the greater portion goes to
Boston, whence it is distributed throughout the State. In recent years
shipments have been made from the Ipswich Bay region direct to New
York, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

_Price._--The price of clams is fairly constant, varying but little
in summer and winter. Naturally, this seems curious, when winter and
summer clamming are compared. The production in winter is much smaller
than in summer, which is due to (1) fewer clammers, because of the
severe work in cold weather; (2) less working days, as the clammer
is often unable to dig for weeks, and even months, and also cannot
work early or late tides, as in summer. In spite of this diminution
of supply, the winter price is practically no higher. This is due to
a smaller demand in winter, as well as to the influx of the Maine
clams at this season. In summer there is an increased demand for
clams, caused by the arrival of the summer people at the seashore; and
large quantities of this shellfish are used by hotels, cottages, etc.
This increase in demand is enough to offset the increase in supply,
resulting in a stationary price.

The price varies as to the quality of the clams, whether soaked or
unsoaked, small or large, good or poor looking shells, and fresh or
stale. The average price as received by the clammer for clams in the
shell is 75 cents per bushel; shucked clams, when soaked, 45-50 cents
per gallon.

_Arrangement of Towns._

Owing to the peculiarities of the different localities, it has been
impossible to satisfactorily arrange the towns alphabetically.
Therefore, in order to present local comparisons, they have been
arranged in geographical order, starting at the northern boundary of
the State.


Salisbury, the most northerly town in the State, has a good clam
territory, very similar to that of Newburyport, though much smaller in

Almost all the clam ground, and practically all the very good digging,
is comprised in a single flat, which extends along the northerly bank
of the Merrimac for nearly 2 miles. This flat is about 900 feet wide,
on an average, and has a total area of 216 acres. On the eastern end,
and skirting the channel, it is sandy; but for the most part it is mud
throughout, varying from a hard, smooth surface in the middle portion
to a soft, scummy soil on the west.

About 100 acres in the central section of this flat are covered with
a thick set of clams, especially from 1 to 2 inches. This territory
furnishes the bulk of the good digging, and is being constantly turned
over and the larger clams sorted out. Roughly speaking, the main east
half of the flat is sandy, or hard mud, with very good clamming, the
western half softer mud, with fair or scattering clams. This is an
exceptionally fine natural clam flat, and if properly cultivated its
production would be immensely increased. At the eastern extremity of
the flat a long, narrow cove extends in a general northerly direction
into the main land. This cove, including the outer fringing bars,
contains some 34 acres of flats, for the most part sandy and rather
poorly productive, though no considerable area is anywhere strictly
barren. The combined clam flat territory of the town aggregates
250 acres, comprising 150 acres of good clamming and 100 acres of
scattering clams; of these, 216 acres are of mud and 34 acres of sand.

While the town records show 66 licensed clammers, only about 50 make
clamming their chief occupation. The industry is carried on in much
the same manner as at Newburyport; $625 is invested in boats and
implements, and some 15,000 bushels of clams, aggregating $16,500, are
annually produced.

The clam industry at Salisbury is largely stationary as regards
available territory, while the production varies considerably from year
to year. There is little or no town legislation affecting the industry,
except the issuing of permits by the selectmen. These permits cost 25
cents, and are required from every clammer.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                   66
  Capital invested,                              $625
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                 15,000
      Value,                                  $16,500
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand                                         34
      Mud,                                        216
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      250
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                              150
      Scattering clams,                           100
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),          -
  Waste barren area (acres),                        -
  Possible normal production,                 $70,000


Newburyport is pre-eminently the clam town of Massachusetts. It
produces the most clams, gives employment to the most men, and has on
the whole the finest flats.

The total clam-growing area of this town comprises about 1,080 acres;
of this, some 800 acres are more or less productive, while the balance,
280 acres, is practically nonproductive. Scattering clams exist
everywhere, so there are, properly speaking, no truly barren flats.

The flats of Newburyport, broad, level and continuous, are peculiarly
adapted to clam culture. The general type of soil is mud, varying from
a soft, sticky variety on the west coast, and also along the shores
of Plum Island, to a firm, hard surface in the great middle section
north of Woodbridge's Island, where clams flourish most abundantly and
furnish the best digging within the city limits. Here nearly 100 acres
are covered with a heavy set of 1 to 2 inch clams. Altogether there are
some 930 acres of this mud. Much of this, especially to the west and
south, is apparently unfavorable to clams, being soft and unwholesome,
but even here at certain seasons clams are dug extensively.

The sand flats include the shifting Hump sands that fringe the Merrimac
channel and the Cove on Plum Island. These and other minor sections
comprise about 150 acres. The Hump sands are quite productive. The
other sand flats are not entirely barren, but practically unutilized.

The clam industry at Newburyport furnishes employment for about 175
men, although over 200 depend upon it for some portion of their income.
The season lasts the year round, though on account of storms and ice
the winter's work is rather uncertain. A good fisherman will, under
favorable circumstances, dig several bushels of clams at a tide, though
the ordinary man will probably not average more than a bushel and a
half, taking the whole year into account.

The outlay of capital invested is comparatively small. A flat-bottom
boat or dory, a clam hoe or two, and three or four wire-bottom baskets,
constitute a clammer's outfit, costing altogether perhaps $15 or $20.
As two or more men frequently go in one boat, even this expenditure
may be reduced. The shore property in use, consisting of from 8 to
10 shanties, is also inconsiderable. Several power boats are used,
however, and their added cost brings the aggregate money invested up to
about $2,700.

The flats of Newburyport are a large factor in its economic wealth.
During 1907 they produced nearly 55,500 bushels of clams, exceeding
$61,000 in value. Nearly two-thirds of these clams were shucked, that
is, removed from the shell and sold by the gallon. In this form,
usually soaked to increase their volume, they retail for about 45
cents per gallon. As clams in the shell, sold for "steamers," etc.,
will hardly bring more than 65 cents per bushel, the process of
shucking nearly doubles the value to the fisherman, as a bushel of
clams in the shell will produce from 2 to 3 gallons of soaked clams.
The income of the average clammer will hardly exceed $350 per year, but
a really energetic and industrious fisherman may in the same time make
from $500 to $700, or even more. Many of the men have individual orders
from dealers in Lynn, Haverhill and the neighboring cities, while the
local dealers ship largely to Boston.

The regulation of the industry by city ordinance is of very little
note. Practically the only legislation pertaining to it is the law
which requires every clammer to have a permit, but even this regulation
is but indifferently enforced. The Newbury flats are likewise free to
the Newburyport clammers, and part of the Newburyport production comes
from these outside flats.

The history of the clam industry at Newburyport is one of constant
change. Twenty years ago large areas on southwest Joppa were
practically barren; now they are quite productive. The reverse is true
of Ball's flat on Plum Island, which, though once of great importance,
is now almost waste. Though no serious inroads have as yet been made, a
slow but steady decline in the industry is distinctly noticeable.


         |            |         |      |          |
   YEAR. | Production |  Value. | Men. | Capital. |  Price
         | (Bushels). |         |      |          |   per
         |            |         |      |          | Bushel.
         |            |         |      |          |
   1879, |   28,800   | $11,520 |   60 |   $750   |  $0.40
         |            |         |      |          |
   1907, |   70,500   |  77,500 |  241 |  3,325   |  1.10

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                  175
  Capital invested,                            $2,700
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                 55,500
      Value,                                  $61,000
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       150
      Mud,                                        930
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                    1,080
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                              800
      Scattering clams,                           280
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),          -
  Waste barren area (acres),                        -
  Possible normal production,                $250,000


The town of Newbury has in itself no shellfish industry, although
there is an extensive area of suitable flats which are worked with
equal rights by the Newburyport clammers. These flats comprise some
360 acres, and extend along both sides of Plum Island Sound and
Parker River. Over 100 acres of scattering clams occur, though not
in sufficient quantities for the most part to make very profitable
digging. The remainder, some 260 acres, though almost all suitable for
the production of large quantities of clams, is practically barren.

The principal type of soil is mud, and the mud flats comprise about
250 acres. The flats of Parker River and those in its immediate
neighborhood, however, are largely sand, and altogether they aggregate
about 110 acres. Of these, "the thoroughfare" is practically the only
one which furnishes clams in any quantity. Sections of the broad
flats which border on Plum Island Sound produce scattering clams of
large size. There is, however, no very good digging in town, and no
consistent effort seems ever to have been made to utilize the great
wealth which lies dormant in the clam flat territory. Six Newbury
men dig intermittently in the summer, and furnish some 300 bushels,
worth about $250, for town trade. However, this does not take into
consideration the amount taken from these flats by the Newburyport

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    6
  Capital invested,                               $75
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    300
      Value,                                     $250
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       110
      Mud,                                        250
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      360
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                           100
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        260
  Waste barren area (acres),                        -
  Possible normal production,                 $40,000


Rowley presents a more striking example of the decline in the shellfish
industry than any other town in this region.

Four hundred acres of good flats border Plum Island and Rowley River
within the town limits, but of these only 20 at most are economically
productive. Eighty acres more are not entirely barren, though
practically worthless, while the remaining 300, though almost all well
adapted for clam culture, are barren.

The main type of soil is sand, and the sand flats, for the most part
in Plum Island Sound, comprise some 250 acres. The remainder, 150
acres, is mostly mud in scattered sections along the Rowley River and
in patches on the main flats. The only really productive flats are
the little coves and creeks of Rowley River and the Knob Reefs in
Plum Island Sound. The Knob Reef clam grounds produce very large and
fine clams, which lie on the lower edge of the flat and are exposed
only a short time every tide. Knob Reefs also has the distinction of
possessing probably the finest clam set of its size in the State, which
would furnish abundant opportunity for restocking all the barren Rowley
River flats, if the town authorities had taken proper measures to
transplant this seed. As it is, this extensive set, too thick for good
growth, is rapidly wasting away.

The history of the industry is one of steady decline. Reliable evidence
exists to show that almost all the flats of Rowley once produced clams,
and that large areas now waste were formerly productive. That these
immense barren areas, possessing such an enormous latent wealth, should
be allowed to remain thus unimproved, is a most conclusive argument for
the need of radical action. No settled attempt, however, except for a
single closed season in 1906, has ever been made by the clammers or
town authorities to better the conditions, or to check the decline in
the productive territory that remains.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                   15
  Capital invested,                              $800
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                  2,000
      Value,                                   $1,500
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       250
      Mud,                                        150
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      400
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                               20
      Scattering clams,                            80
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        300
  Waste barren area (acres),                        -
  Possible normal production,                 $60,000


Ipswich is second only to Newburyport in the production of clams,
and has perhaps even greater possibilities of development. The
clam territory of the two towns, while nearly equal in extent, is,
however, markedly different in general characteristics. The flats
of Newburyport, while few in number, are broad, continuous, and have
a great degree of similarity throughout. The flats of Ipswich, on
the other hand, are divided into a great number of relatively small
sections, widely diversified in character, and scattered along an
extensive coast line. As these flats are in many respects the most
interesting and important of any town in the State, it seems well to
examine them in detail.

Four distinct divisions can be distinguished in the clam territory of
this town: Ipswich River, Plum Island, Green's Creek and Roger Island,
and Essex River flats.

Taken in the order named, the Ipswich River has in itself a great
variety of clam ground. Both sides of the river for nearly 3 miles are
fringed with bars, mainly of mud though sandy near the mouth. Some of
the mud flats are so soft that they are practically barren, or given up
largely to mussel beds; while much of the sand, as, _e.g._, the main
portion of the High Sands, is too shifting to be valuable. The larger
part of these river flats are, however, productive.

The Plum Island division comprises Lufkins, Point Peter, Appletons,
Foresides and several other minor flats. Of these, Lufkins is very
important. It occupies a semicircular depression on the coast of Plum
Island, and, owing to its peculiar location, the swift current which
flows past its outer edge makes a double eddy at both ebb and flood
tide. These eddies sweep gently over its broad surface, and deposit a
fine silt which has made the characteristic soil a hard, bluish clay.
This is the only important clay flat of this region. The total area of
Lufkins is 46 acres. The outer border to the north is mud, becoming
soft; to the south, sandy. The portion near shore is, as has been
stated, a clayey soil, and it is here that clams are found abundantly.
An exceptionally good set of 1 to 2 inch clams occupies from 3 to
4 acres of this portion. Though clams are numerous, the exceeding
hardness of the soil makes digging rather difficult.

Point Peter, or "P'int" Peter, is also an important flat, comprising
altogether 28 acres, though about 7 acres of the outer portion extend
far into the current, and are of so shifting and sandy a nature as to
be practically worthless. Most of the remainder is mud, varying from
sand and hard mud on the outside to soft mud in the creeks that lead
into the main land. The central portion of the flat is peculiarly
adapted to the culture of clams, however, and is very productive.

Appleton's flat comprises about 6 acres of hard sand, verging into mud,
thickly strewn with old clam shells. It lies at the mouth of Perkins
and Pine Creeks, which run for about a mile into the main land of Plum
Island, and contain nearly 25 acres each of fairly productive mud
flats. Appleton's is a valuable flat, and the clams dug here are large.

The Foresides is a thatch island a little over a mile in length, lying
in the mid channel of Plum Island Sound. The flats which surround it
on all sides are practically all sand, and comprise about 80 acres.
The whole western side is more or less productive, though the outer
edge, where the strong cross currents of the channel sweep over, is too
much rippled to be suitable for clam growth. The strip of sand along
the northern and northeastern sides, though rather narrow and limited
in area, is productive, while most of the southeastern portion, which
projects far into the channel, is barren and totally unadapted for soft
clams, though bedded with sea clams. The productive sections of this
flat are much dug, and altogether it is one of the most important of
the Ipswich clam grounds.

The west coast of Plum Island Sound, comprising the Green's Creek
and Roger Island territories, extends from the Ipswich to the Rowley
rivers. This division contains the bulk of the waste and barren flats
of the town, although there is exceptionally good clamming in Stacy's
Creek, Third Creek and the "Nutfield."

The Essex River region is rather remote for most of the clammers,
and hard to reach, but furnishes on the whole some of the very best
digging. The three main flats of this division are the Essex beach,
Wheeler's, and the Spit. Essex beach has a very good set, evenly
sprinkled over the ridgy, shifting bars that skirt the channel.

Wheeler's is an irregular sand bar, occupying about 77 acres. Fully
one-half of this is very productive, and in the main portion occurs
another thick set very similar to that on Essex beach.

The Spit, mainly sand or sandy mud, lies in the three towns of Ipswich,
Essex and Gloucester. The whole area is some 300 acres, about a third
lying within the town of Ipswich. This whole bar is so liable to
change that any calculations based on its precise area or location are
decidedly unreliable. Very good digging occurs, however, in limited
areas on the north and west sides of the Ipswich territory.

These four divisions comprise the clamming territory of Ipswich, and
aggregate 970 acres, of which 390 acres is sand and 500 mud. This also
includes 15 acres of mussels scattered along Ipswich River, Plum Island
and Green's Creek region, and about 10 acres of eel grass in various
localities. Over 800 acres is more or less productive, about half being
good clamming.

About 50 regular clammers depend upon these flats for a living,
though 136 permits were issued in 1907. Here, owing to the greater
distances to be traversed, many power boats are used. Nearly $7,500 is
invested in the industry, and 25,000 bushels of clams, at a valuation
of $18,750, are annually produced. The relative decrease in price as
compared with Newburyport is due to the fact that shucking is not so
extensively practised here.

The town laws merely require a permit from every clammer, for which
no charge is made. Such permit is issued at the discretion of the
selectmen, and requires of the recipient six months' residence in the
town and two years in the State. In past years the town has made
several by-laws for the protection of shellfish, chiefly in the nature
of partial closed seasons; but unfortunately considerable difficulty
has been found in enforcing these excellent laws, and the results have
been far from satisfactory.

Ipswich has jealously guarded the rights of its clam flats, and has
protected them in every way from the invasion of outsiders, which in
part accounts for the excellent condition of these flats, which were
originally deeded to the Commoners by the Crown, and from them to the
town. Ipswich is the only town in the Commonwealth which has thus
directly received its clam flats as its own property, and naturally has
done more to improve its natural clam resources than any other town in
the State.

The history of the industry shows little change; some few flats once
considered worthless have been opened and utilized; others once
productive have been dug out and allowed to become waste. On the whole,
the industry is following the trend of the shellfisheries everywhere,
and slowly but steadily declining.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                  136
  Capital invested,                            $7,500
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                 25,000
      Value,                                  $18,750
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       390
      Mud,                                        500
      Gravel,                                      55
      Mussels and eel grass,                       25
      Total,                                      970
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                              400
      Scattering clams,                           420
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        125
  Waste barren area (acres),                       25
  Possible normal production,                $200,000


Essex, while still ranking as an important clam-producing town, has
a very imperfect development of her shellfish resources. The total
clam flat area comprises some 650 acres, and, though scarcely more
than 25 acres can be considered as unfit for the growth of clams, and
consequently barren, only a little more than half the remainder is
at all productive, and of this probably less than 150 acres yields
any financial return. In other words, 325 acres of good clam flat is
allowed to remain practically barren.

The main type of soil is sand, and nearly 500 acres may be properly
classed under this head. The remaining 150 acres are mud, and are
located in the creeks along the river and in the coves north of Hog
Island. The productive sections are scattered for the most part along
both sides of the Essex River, and well-developed areas are also
found at its mouth and on the Spit. There are several good locations
of seed clams. One section of about 25 acres occurs on the west side
of the Spit. This is composed of 1 to 2 inch clams, running 10 to 40
per square foot. At the mouth of the river on the north side occurs
another set of ½-inch clams, covering about 10 acres. On the flats west
of Cross Island is found a third set of ½ to 2 inch clams, comprising
about 30 acres. Other smaller patches of set are scattered along the
river almost up to its source.

About 50 men derive an income from these flats. Some $1,200 is
invested, and the annual product exceeds 15,000 bushels, valued at

The town of Essex has realized the importance of the clam problem, and
has attempted through legislation to deal with it. The selectmen are
empowered to grant to citizens of the town an area consisting of an
acre or less on flats already barren, for the purpose of raising clams,
and in this manner partially restock the flats. A rental of $2 is
charged, covering a period of five years, and an additional fee of 50
cents is required for recording. In spite of inadequate protection, the
experiment has been conducted long enough to prove that these flats can
be made profitable to the clammers.

The history of the clam industry at Essex is one of extensive decline.
There is every reason to believe that the greater part at least of the
waste area was once very productive. Prof. James L. Kellogg in the
United States Fish Commission Bulletin for 1899, says:--

    We have much evidence that the clam industry in Essex has,
    in the past, been extensive.... Much more testimony of a
    similar character may be had to show that the flats once very
    productive have almost entirely failed.

                     COMPARISON OF 1907 WITH 1879.

                        |        |
                        | 1879.  |  1907.
  Production (bushels), |    500 |  15,000
  Value,                | $4,500 | $12,750
  Men,                  |     75 |      50
  Capital,              |      - |  $1,200
  Price (cents),        |     40 |      85

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                   50
  Capital invested,                            $1,200
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                 15,000
      Value,                                  $12,750
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       500
      Mud,                                        125
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                       25
      Total,                                      650
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                              150
      Scattering clams,                           150
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        325
  Waste barren area (acres),                       25
  Possible normal production,                $120,000


The far-celebrated deep sea fisheries of Gloucester overshadow her
humble shellfish industry; but within her tidal flats lie undeveloped
resources, which if properly brought out would form no inconsiderable
factor in her annual revenue. Even now her clam fishery attains
considerable proportions, though by no means what it once was, or what
it might be were suitable cultural methods employed.

The main areas of clam-producing territory lie in the Annisquam River
and in the Essex River in West Gloucester. The grounds in the Annisquam
are the more productive. This river is some 4 miles long, and is
bordered for the greater part of this distance with tidal flats. Of
these the sand flats predominate, though there are large areas of mud
and extensive beds of mussels. On the extreme head of the river, known
as the Dumfudgeon region, dredging operations for the Gloucester canal
have somewhat impaired the flats, but as a whole the river seems in
every way suitable for the production of an abundant harvest of clams.

The flats of West Gloucester, including a portion of the Essex Spit,
are largely unproductive. The Spit is the only flat of any extent in
this region which is at present of real economic value; the remaining
flats, scattered along the south shore of the Essex River and its
tributary creeks, are for the most part practically barren.

The total area of clam flats in Gloucester approximates 550 acres. Of
this, some 250 acres are sand, 200 mud, while there are about 100 acres
of mussels and eel grass, which cannot be considered at all adapted for
clam culture. Only a fraction of the whole, 75 acres, more or less, is
good clamming; a scant 100 acres produces scattering clams; 275 acres
are barren, though capable of producing clams; while 100 acres may
never be made productive.

Eight men dig regularly on these flats the year round, and 23 others
work intermittently. The capital invested amounts to over $600, and
the annual output exceeds 6,000 bushels, valued at $8,000. Most of the
clams produced at Gloucester are shucked either for market or bait.

Local legislation has no bearing on the shellfish question, and no
effort is being made either to better conditions in the clam industry
or to check its steady decline.

The industry has fallen off greatly in the past few years. In 1875
there were 90 regular clammers, and a man could dig 6 bushels to
a tide, where now 8 regular and 23 intermittent clammers find it
difficult to get from 1½ bushels to 3 bushels per tide.

  YEAR. | Production | Value. | Men. | Capital   | Price.
        | (Bushels). |        |      | Invested. |
  1879, |   13,978   | $5,200 |  92  |  $2,000   | $0.40
  1907, |    6,000   |  8,000 |  31  |     600   |  1.33

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                   31
  Capital invested,                              $600
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                  6,000
      Value,                                   $8,000
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       250
      Mud,                                        200
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                      100
      Total,                                      550
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                               75
      Scattering clams,                           100
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        275
  Waste barren area (acres),                      100
  Possible normal production,                 $70,000


Manchester has a coast line so much exposed, and consequently so small
a territory of tidal flats, that it is not surprising to find its clam
industry of very insignificant proportions. Affairs are in much the
same state of apathy as at Beverly, though Manchester does not possess
the resources of the former town, and could not, in the nature of the
case, carry on any extensive clam business. Its facilities, however,
poor as they are, are very imperfectly utilized; hence the present
state of depletion, verging on absolute exhaustion.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    100
      Value,                                     $100
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        10
      Mud,                                         10
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       20
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                             5
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         10
  Waste barren area (acres),                        5
  Possible normal production,                  $2,000


Beverly has practically no clam industry. The area of tidal flats,
comprising nearly 50 acres, is at present unprofitable and nearly
worthless. As at Swampscott, some clams still continue to be dug
for bait and for local clam bakes, but any evidence of a systematic
business has long ceased to exist. Thirty years ago clams were far
more abundant, though there was never an extensive industry. The town
authorities require no licenses and make no efforts to revive the

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    100
      Value,                                     $100
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        30
      Mud,                                         20
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       50
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            10
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         30
  Waste barren area (acres),                       10
  Possible normal production,                  $5,000


Salem has far better natural advantages for clam culture than the
other towns in its immediate vicinity, and leads in clam production,
though the industry is of very inferior proportions. Seven men are at
present employed in digging the harbor flats, where the clams have
very recently seeded in. Many of these clams, though rather small, are
shucked, and the remainder are sold in the local markets. The entire
value of the annual production does not exceed $200, and the capital
invested amounts to but $75. This is rather poor showing for 100 acres
of flats for the most part comparatively good, and capable of yielding
$11,000 annually. The Salem clammers dig also in the Danvers River in
the town of Danvers.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    7
  Capital invested,                               $75
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    200
      Value,                                     $200
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        75
      Mud,                                         25
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      100
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                5
      Scattering clams,                            10
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         70
  Waste barren area (acres),                       15
  Possible normal production,                 $11,000


The city of Lynn has within its tidal flats the latent resources of
an important industry. Its clam grounds could, if properly utilized,
yield a great increase over their present inconsiderable return.
No legislation on the part of the city authorities has intervened
to improve the shellfish production or to prevent the depletion of
valuable territory which has been allowed to gradually lapse into an
unsanitary desert. While at low tide about 400 acres of flats spread
over the broad harbor or border the banks of the Saugus River, but 40
acres of this wide expanse yield any appreciable revenue. The principal
part of the digging is done on the mud flats of the Saugus River. Here
7 fishermen work intermittently to supply the local market during the
summer months. There is some good territory at the mouth of the river
toward the north, and scattering clams occur along the eastern shores,
but the main flats of the harbor are for the most part barren.

The deposit of sewage from the city drainage has undoubtedly had a
prejudicial effect on much of this area, as the unpleasing scum which
covers the soft, sticky mud and eel grass bears abundant witness.
Whether measures undertaken to reclaim this lost area would in the long
run yield profitable returns is an undecided question, but much might
be done, by the employment of judicious cultural methods, to increase
the yield of those flats which are properly productive. No exact
returns of the annual clam harvest for this region are obtainable, as
most of the output is disposed of at retail, but it cannot exceed 1,000
bushels, and probably falls far short of that figure; $1,000, then, or
thereabouts, represents the total monetary income from this fishery.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    7
  Capital invested,                              $100
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                  1,000
      Value,                                   $1,000
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        90
      Mud,                                        300
      Gravel,                                       5
      Mussels and eel grass,                        5
      Total,                                      400
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                               10
      Scattering clams,                            30
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        160
  Waste barren area (acres),                      200
  Possible normal production,                 $26,000


At Saugus conditions in many respects parallel those at Lynn. The clam
grounds, while they by no means equal those of the neighboring city in
area, are on the whole better, as they are freer from contaminating
sewage. Of the 250 acres which comprise the normal tide flat area, only
100 acres, or 40 per cent., can be said to be strictly barren. The
remaining 150 acres is an undeveloped asset, as its value lies far more
in its prospects than in its present productivity. While scattering
clams occur throughout, no more than 25 acres can be accounted paying
property. This remunerative territory lies chiefly in the Saugus River
and in the vicinity of the Point of Pines. Here 10 men dig quite
regularly, particularly in the summer, though none of them depend
wholly upon this source of revenue for a livelihood. The annual output
equals that of Lynn, both in amount and valuation. To these flats, with
their undeveloped resources, local legislation gives practically no

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                   10
  Capital invested,                              $100
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                  1,000
      Value,                                   $1,000
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       100
      Mud,                                        150
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      250
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                               10
      Scattering clams,                            40
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        100
  Waste barren area (acres),                      100
  Possible normal production,                 $22,000


Although Nahant has a large area of tidal flats, it is not on the
whole favorably located, and much that would otherwise be available is
necessarily waste. The territory which borders the western coast is not
barren, but most of it is not productive enough to be profitable.

A few scattered sections repay the clammer for his labor, and from
these sections perhaps 300 bushels a year are dug for home consumption.
Four or five men are employed at intervals in the summer months, but no
one of them depends upon this source of income for more than transient
employment, as the entire value of the yearly harvest does not exceed
$300. As there are nearly 250 acres of flats in Nahant, this would be a
revenue of $1.60 per acre, on an average. However, this is not a fair
comparison, for much of the territory apparently available is, as has
been stated, properly waste. Nevertheless, an industry of far greater
proportions than at present could be attained if wise legislation were
directed to that end.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    300
      Value,                                     $300
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        50
      Mud,                                        100
      Gravel,                                     100
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      250
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            50
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        150
  Waste barren area (acres),                       50
  Possible normal production,                 $25,000

_Boston Harbor._

Owing to the danger arising from sewage contamination the State Board
of Health, on Dec. 6, 1906, requested the Department of Fisheries and
Game to prohibit the digging of clams for market in Boston harbor.
The region closed by this law lies to the west of an imaginary line
running from Point Shirley through Deer Island to the northeastern end
of Peddocks Island; thence in a southwesterly direction to the extreme
point of Hough's Neck. This territory includes Winthrop, Chelsea,
Charlestown, Everett, Somerville, Cambridge, Boston, East Boston,
South Boston, Dorchester, Neponset and Quincy. For convenience all the
prescribed territory is treated under the head of "Boston harbor."

The action of the State Board of Health in closing Boston harbor was
necessitated by a due regard for the public health, as it seemed
inexpedient to allow clams dug from this territory and subject to
sewage contamination to be marketed for food. Necessary as this act
may have been, the closing of 5,000 acres of flats for the production
of edible shellfish made valueless an important source of revenue, and
threw a large number of clammers out of employment. Some alleviation
of these conditions has resulted through the granting of permits to
take shellfish for bait from the prescribed waters, thus furnishing a
number of men with transient employment. The value of the law, however,
is almost completely nullified, for the danger to the public health is
actual, and not imaginary. Under present conditions it is well-nigh
impossible to make the necessary surveillance so complete as would be
necessary to prove that clams "dug for bait" are not used as food.
Further, even in the digging and handling of shellfish in polluted
waters there is positive danger of transmitting the germs by hands of
the digger to his own mouth or to other persons.

The nature of the flats permit the division of Boston harbor into three
sections: (1) the north shore, (2) the south shore, (3) and the islands.

(1) The northern coast of the harbor has extensive mud and sand flats,
covered for the most part with eel grass or scattered mussel beds. Much
of the surface is a variety of pebbly gravel, while but little of it
appears to be good clam ground. The mud flats are mostly covered with a
sewage scum which renders them unsuitable for clams. Scattering clams
are found throughout the entire region.

The immediate vicinity of Snake Island in Winthrop and the cove on
Point Shirley furnish fairly good clamming, while clams are found in a
greater or less degree upon the extensive flats of Winthrop harbor.
The flats of the Mystic River, which are of a tenacious mud rather
unwholesome in appearance, in so far as they have not been encroached
upon for building purposes, possess scattered patches of very good
digging, and furnish transient employment to 20 or more men. The flats
in the Charles and Chelsea rivers likewise furnish fair clamming.

(2) The south shore of the harbor is much like the north, except that
the mud type of soil predominates. The large flats, mainly mud, are not
entirely barren though most of the clams are found in a narrow strip
of beach along the shore. At South Boston as well as in Dorchester Bay
clams are found in considerable numbers, though nowhere are there any
large areas of good clamming.

(3) The islands in the harbor are fringed with pebbly beach, where
scattering clams are usually found. Apple Island and Governor's Island
are surrounded with quite extensive flats, which are, however, but
sparsely productive. Much digging for bait is carried on constantly on
these pebbly beaches.

_History._--Boston harbor has been in the past a good clamming region,
as the magnitude of its available flats has rendered possible an
extensive production. Naturally, the closing of the harbor by the State
Board of Health has limited the annual production of clams from this
vicinity, as now the only legal digging is for bait. Owing to this
partial closed season the clams are said to have been on the increase
during the last two years. Nevertheless, before the passage of this
act the fishery had already greatly declined. The decline of the clam
industry has been going on for years, as even in 1879 Mr. Ernest
Ingersoll mentions:--

    In Boston harbor clams are much depleted, owing to the fact
    that they are remorselessly dug the year through, chiefly by
    a class of ignorant foreigners who go down the harbor for the
    purpose. July and August are the most productive months, there
    being a large demand for the "clam bakes" which picnic parties
    from the cities indulge in on the various beaches. All the
    clams got in Boston harbor are very small, because they are
    allowed little chance to grow; in March and April they are
    hardly worth eating.

                         COMPARISON WITH 1879.

                                1897.     1907.
  Number of men,                   90       350
  Annual production:--
      Bushels,                 40,000     7,500
      Value,                  $20,000    $6,000
  Number of dories,                50         -
  Capital invested,            $1,350    $2,250

In 1879 A. Howard Clark states:--

    The towns around Boston usually charge a license fee of $2 a
    year for the privilege of taking clams. The clams are in some
    cases bought up by small operators, who team them into the
    city, though the diggers sometimes bring them to the city and
    sell them to the dealers direct from their boats at the wharves.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of licenses,                             350
  Capital invested,                            $2,250
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                  7,000
      Value,                                   $5,500
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       500
      Mud,                                      2,500
      Gravel,                                   1,000
      Mussels and eel grass,                    1,000
      Total,                                    5,000
  Productive area (acres):--
  Good clamming,                                  100
  Scattering clams,                             1,000
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        900
  Waste barren area (acres),                    3,000
  Possible normal production,                $330,000


Weymouth, with its two rivers, possesses an area of flats aggregating
250 acres. The shores of Fore River are stony, but in spite of the
hard digging clams are found in fair numbers. The shores of Back River
are similar, except for the mud flats on the channel, which are either
barren or but sparsely productive. A few clams are dug for bait and
home consumption.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men                                     -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    150
      Value,                                     $150
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                         -
      Mud,                                        150
      Gravel,                                      80
      Mussels and eel grass,                       20
      Total,                                      250
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            30
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         50
  Waste barren area (acres),                      170
  Possible normal production,                 $11,000


Hingham has an area of tidal flats comprising nearly 650 acres. The
characteristic soil is of two kinds: a marginal strip of pebbly beach
extending the full length of the shore, and the broad flats of Hingham
harbor and Weir River, with their extensive areas of mud, eel grass and
mussels. The clamming territory is confined for the most part to this
narrow strip fringing the shore, though scattering clams are found in
diminished numbers on the mud flats.

The shellfish industry of the town consists mostly in procuring clams,
mussels and cockles for bait. Clams are dug to some extent for home
consumption and for the hotels at Nantasket; but the fishery is carried
on in a desultory manner by a few men who dig when other work fails,
and who do not wholly depend on clamming for a livelihood.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,.                                   250
      Value,                                     $250
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        25
      Mud,                                        450
      Gravel,                                     100
      Mussels and eel grass,                       75
  Total,                                          650
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                           100
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),          -
  Waste barren area (acres),                      550
  Possible normal production,                 $20,000


The stony shores of Hull offer but little suitable clam area, though
fair digging is found in the vicinity of Hog Island and in Weir River.
The usual type of flat is a pebbly or gravel beach, while near White
Head and Weir River there are large mud areas. Clams are dug only for
home consumption or for bait.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    100
      Value,                                     $100
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand                                          -
      Mud,                                        225
      Gravel,                                     200
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      425
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            50
  Barren area possibly productive (acres)          50
  Waste barren area (acres)                       325
  Possible normal production,                 $15,000


Cohasset, though possessing sufficient suitable area to support a
clam fishery, has no industry of any importance. The greater part
of the tidal flats are barren, while the remainder are far from
fertile. The region immediately about White Head and the territory
opposite extending along Barson's beach are the most productive, while
scattering clams are found in Little Harbor.

The total acreage of available flat exceeds 100 acres. Of this, 90
acres are wholly unproductive, and the remainder, 10 acres, is not very
valuable. The main type of soil is sand, though areas of mud are found
in the coves. There are no regular clammers, though many clams are dug
by the citizens of the town for their own use. There has never been a
clam industry worthy of the name at Cohasset, and the present state of
apathy appears to be normal. No local regulations of any kind govern
the fishery.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    200
      Value,                                     $200
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        50
      Mud,                                         50
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      100
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            10
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         40
  Waste barren area (acres),                       50
  Possible normal production,                  $6,000


There is no clam industry at Scituate. The selectmen of the town have
forbidden all exportation of clams for market, and consequently the few
clams dug are utilized for home consumption.

The possibilities of a future clam industry at this town, while not
alluring, give indications of some promise. Occasional clams are found
on the shores of Scituate harbor, as well as its tributary creeks. The
main undeveloped resource lies, however, along the broad flats of the
North River. These flats undoubtedly constitute a considerable asset in
the communal wealth, and the action of the selectmen in maintaining a
close season will tend to the restocking and consequent utilization of
this territory.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    200
      Value,                                     $200
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        50
      Mud,                                         45
      Gravel,                                       5
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      100
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            20
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         40
  Waste barren area (acres),                       40
  Possible normal production,                  $8,000


Affairs at Marshfield are in practically the same state of inactivity
as at Scituate. The town has considerable natural advantages, since
the North River, which formerly made a wide sweep to the south before
emptying into the ocean, has opened a new channel within the last ten
years, forming many acres of excellent clam ground. A close season is
maintained, although there has been considerable discontent on the part
of certain individuals relative to this policy of the selectmen. A
considerable quantity of clams, probably not exceeding 200 bushels per
annum, are dug for home consumption. There are no shipments for market.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    200
      Value,                                     $200
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        40
      Mud,                                         50
      Gravel,                                      10
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      100
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            30
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         30
  Waste barren area (acres),                       40
  Possible normal production,                  $9,000


The clam industry at Duxbury has a peculiar interest, owing to the
many perplexing problems which it presents. A vast extent of tidal
flats, far exceeding in area those of any other town in the State, and
in a measure suitable for the production of clams, lie almost wholly
barren. The enormous territory comprised in these flats exceeds 3,500
acres, or, roughly, 5½ square miles. This is greater than the combined
clam area of Salisbury, Newburyport, Ipswich, Essex and Gloucester,
which is the finest territory in the State, and produces most of the
Massachusetts clams. Duxbury, with a greater area than all these towns,
dug in 1907 about 700 bushels of clams,--an amount which could well
have been produced from 2 acres of ground. An investigation into the
history of the town shows us that this state of barrenness has not
always existed. There was a time when Duxbury was justly celebrated for
her shellfish, as is still shown by the allusions to Duxbury clams on
the menus of many hotels and restaurants. The dealers at Taunton, Fall
River and other Massachusetts cities formerly sent to Duxbury large
orders for clams, which were always forthcoming. Now, as far as can be
ascertained, not a single barrel is shipped out of the town from year
to year.

This transition from a state of prosperity to one of almost total
barrenness is replete with interest, and is difficult of solution.
Doubtless several causes may have contributed to this general decline.
In the first place, it is evident that the Duxbury flats were never in
so flourishing a state of production as those of the Cape Ann district.
This assumption is amply supported by historical records, and it is
also supplemented, at least, by the fact that a great per cent. of the
present territory is largely unfit for the production of clams in any
quantity. As these flats have changed scarcely at all for many years,
is it unreasonable to suppose that they ever have been very suitable
since the first settlement of the country?

As for the historical records referred to, the weight of evidence
everywhere tends to prove that many years ago there was a fairly large
output of clams yearly from Duxbury. But while this output was large
in itself, it was, in proportion to the possible area, exceedingly
small. Mr. Ernest Ingersoll states that in 1879 there were yearly
exported from Duxbury 5,000 bushels of clams. At that time, he says,
the industry had declined. Clamming was then prosecuted with no such
vigor as at the present time, for the price was low, and the demand,
except for bait, by no means excessive. Clams had not yet come to be
looked on as such important articles of food as at present, and the
business of digging them as carried on then could have made little
inroad on well-stocked flats. The great probability is that only a
small percentage of the whole territory was ever very productive. An
observer at the present time, viewing from an eminence the flats of
Duxbury at low tide, could not help being struck with the singular
appearance which they present. He would see spread out before him a
broad expanse apparently of green meadows, with long, narrow streams of
water winding in and out among them. These seeming meadows, stretching
on mile after mile, broken here and there by a patch of clear sand, are
the tidal flats of Duxbury, more than 2,700 acres of which are covered
with a thick growth of eel grass.

How many years this eel grass has covered the flats no one knows. It
shifts somewhat, as the ice in winter sometimes plows up an immense
surface, stripping it of its green covering. For the most part it seems
to grow steadily year after year, until the roots, decaying stalks and
the fine sediment which they have collected build up a spongy crust
over the true bed of the flat. It is this spongy, clayey soil which is
the predominant type in the eel-grass region, though a large area is
soft mud with little patches of hard sand. It does not seem surprising
that clams are not abundant in this soggy medium, covered with its
thick matting of grass. Clams do exist, however, for occasionally when
the ice in the winter storms has scraped bare a section of these flats,
scattering large clams can be found.

Whether anything can be done with these eel-grass flats on a
sufficiently large scale to render the undertaking profitable, and
whether they would prove good ground for clam culture if the eel grass
were removed, is a problem. However, the sand flats free from eel grass
comprise nearly 800 acres,--an area sufficient in itself to furnish a
very large industry for the town. Smooth, hard and unshifting, they
have the appearance of being in every way suitable for the production
of an enormous amount of shellfish. Yet, barring cockles, mussels and
razor clams, shellfish are rare on most of these flats, which, in spite
of their inviting appearance, are practically barren.

The only places where clams are dug in any quantity is along the shore.
Here little scattered patches, remnants perhaps of the former large
supply, repay the clammer's toil with a scant return. Little or no
effort is made to dig them on the main flats, and few are so dug unless
they happen to be unearthed by accident when the men are searching
for razor clams for bait. The supply is hardly adequate for home
consumption and the demands for bait by local fishermen.

Whether all the great tidal territory of Duxbury can ever be
reconstructed into profitable clam ground is a difficult question.
There exist, however, no known reasons why a fishery at least as
flourishing as that of twenty years ago could not be re-established
and indefinitely developed. A great industry was once in evidence
here. Outside the boggy eel-grass marshes (doubtful territory at best)
are wide expanses of clean sand flats, suitable in every way for the
cultivation of clams. That the ingenuity of man properly administered
can build up an enormous industry on these sand flats alone, no
thoughtful person can doubt, and then utilization of these great barren
Duxbury wastes will partially, at least, be accomplished.

                     COMPARISON OF 1907 WITH 1879.

  YEAR. | Production | Value.
        | (Bushels). |
  1879, |   5,000    | $2,500
  1907, |     700    |    600

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    5
  Capital invested,                               $60
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    700
      Value,                                     $600
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       800
      Mud,                                          -
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                    2,700
      Total,                                    3,500
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                5
      Scattering clams,                            10
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        800
  Waste barren area (acres),                    2,685
  Possible normal production,                 $83,000


The condition of the clam industry at Kingston is in many respects
parallel to that at Duxbury. The clam flat area (some 600 acres) is
very much smaller, but the character of the soil is essentially the
same, consisting for the most part of clay, soft mud and eel-grass
marshes, with a relatively small proportion of really suitable ground.

The two main flats of the town are Egobert's and Gray's. Egobert's,
the larger of the two, has an area of about 275 acres. Most of this
is practically waste, owing to a thick growth of eel grass; but a
triangular piece on the mid-southern section is bare. This portion of
smooth, unshifting sand comprises about 80 acres. A few patches of
clams are scattered along the outer edge, near the channel, but hardly
any of these patches produce clams enough to make it profitable to dig
them. The great bulk of this territory is entirely barren.

Gray's flat is of an entirely different type. It is a long flat, with
a fairly uniform width of about 100 yards. It runs through its entire
length parallel to the shore, while on the other side it is separated
from Egobert's by a 300-foot channel. Like Egobert's, it is covered
for the most part by eel grass, but it is essentially different in
the nature of its soil, which is mud throughout. Although the total
area of the flat is about 115 acres, an irregular section of bare mud
on the southeastern side, comprising 30 acres, is the only available
clam territory. This section is composed of soft mud on the north and
south, rather poorly suited for clam culture; but the mid section
contains several acres of hard mud, which seems well adapted, and here
clams are found in sufficient quantities to keep several men digging
intermittently through the summer months.

Along the shore a few clam grants have been given to individuals by
the local authorities. These are managed with fair success, though no
business other than that of supplying the local demand is carried on.
The possibilities of forming a clam industry here of importance is
evident, though through lack of available territory it could never give
promise of such a development as might be looked for from Duxbury or

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    4
  Capital invested,                               $50
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    500
      Value,                                     $450
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       150
      Mud,                                          -
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                      450
      Total,                                      600
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                5
      Scattering clams,                             5
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        150
  Waste barren area (acres),                      440
  Possible normal production,                 $18,000


The clam industry at Plymouth is at a low ebb. The same problems which
baffle progress at Duxbury and Kingston are present here with all
their complications. The combined available territory, exceeding 1,600
acres, save for a few unimportant sections, is wholly barren. While it
is true that fully two-thirds of this great area is eel-grass waste,
and in its present state of little value for the production of clams,
there remains over 500 acres of good flats, for the most part sand
well adapted for shellfish culture. It is certain that a flourishing
industry has existed here in former times. From the earliest history
of the colony, records tell of the excellent clam flats at Plymouth;
and we learn that the Pilgrims during the darkest hours of the early
settlement depended in large measure upon these flats for support. As
late as 1879 Ernest Ingersoll reports an annual output of 5,000 bushels
of clams, and states that the industry had then greatly declined. It
appears to have gone down steadily ever since, until now it merely
furnishes transient employment to 4 or 5 men, who dig at rather
uncertain intervals for local markets.

The best clamming, probably because the most inaccessible, is around
Clark's Island. Scattering clams occur on Wind flat, the Oyster grant,
and in patches along the shore. But no considerable extent of good
clamming occurs anywhere, and the bulk of the territory is wholly

The town of Plymouth has endeavored in several ways to develop the
industry. It has appropriated money to restock the flats, a close
season has been tried, and an attempt made to solve the problem by the
giving of private grants. While these grants have not always been run
in as energetic a manner as could be desired, the experiment has proved
conclusively that there are great possibilities in such a system. In
short, there can be little doubt that in the proper administration
of private grants lies the key to the solution of the problem which
confronts this whole region. As clams were once abundant in Plymouth
harbor, and as no apparent causes other than excessive digging appear
to have brought about the decline, there seems to be no logical reason
why this amount of territory (500 acres) should not yield its proper
harvest. As for the vast extent of eel-grass flats, with all their
undetermined possibilities, they can well afford to wait until the more
immediate and pressing problems of the flats already available for clam
culture have been solved.

                     COMPARISON OF 1907 WITH 1879.

  YEAR. | Production | Value.
        | (Bushels). |
  1879, |   5,000    | $2,500
  1907, |   3,000    |  2,500

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    6
  Capital invested,                               $60
  Value of shore property,                          -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                  3,000
      Value,                                   $2,500
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       400
      Mud,                                        100
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                    1,100
      Total,                                    1,600
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                               10
      Scattering clams,                            50
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        440
  Waste barren area (acres),                    1,100
  Possible normal production,                 $58,000


The clam industry at Barnstable, while not so extensive as at Ipswich
or Essex, is nevertheless of special interest. The immensely long
coast line, stretching for many miles on both the north and south
shores of Cape Cod, gives the town a shellfish area both in Cape Cod
Bay and Vineyard Sound which renders it unrivalled throughout the
State for variety of marine life and diversity of natural environment.
These conditions, as they affect clam culture, are best suited on the
northern or bay side of the town, where the clam industry flourishes
more extensively, as the southern shore is almost wholly given up to
the rival quahaug, oyster and scallop fisheries.

On the northern shore a large harbor, nearly 5 miles long and about
2 miles broad at its widest part, extends in a general westerly
direction, ending in a vast waste of salt marshes interwoven with a
network of creeks. Up this harbor the tides rush with great velocity,
and when they sweep out to sea leave a broad expanse of flats, sandy
on the north and central portions and muddy on the south. These flats
cover an aggregate area of 400 acres, comprising 200 acres of hard sand
and 150 acres of soft mud. Large stretches of these mud flats on the
south are waste, and covered for the most part with eel grass. Other
sections elsewhere are likewise waste for various causes, and are to
be excluded as unprofitable or barren; yet the total available area
remaining after making these deductions exceeds 350 acres. This is the
theoretical condition,--the real condition is far otherwise: 20 acres
at the most yield clams, and of these only 10 acres produce them in
marketable quantities.

The explanation of these conditions is interesting. In the winter
the ice and the force of storms tear out great pieces of the tough
marsh surf, and the tides sweep them down the harbor. Some of these
huge masses are torn to pieces and washed away, others find lodgment
on the broad surface of some tidal flat; these, becoming stationary,
accumulate sediment; the grass grows upon them through the summer, and
gradually a little island is formed. Surrounding these islands and
oftentimes growing over their entire surface, bedded in among the roots
of the marsh grass, we find a very thick set of clams. In short, all
the digging of any kind is in the immediate vicinity of these islands.

The deductions to be made from these facts are apparently simple. In
the spawning season, when the microscopic clam larvæ are in their
floating stage, they are carried here and there by the currents. Later,
when they tend normally to settle in some fertile tract of flat, they
are prevented from so doing by reason of the remarkable swiftness of
the tides, which sweep strongly over the broad, smooth flats, and give
the little clams no opportunity of lodgment. Only in the firm thatch of
low-lying islands can they find anything to cling to, and here, with
their slender byssus threads attached to unyielding grass or roots,
they are able to withstand the wash of the current. Thus the clams are
gathered in great numbers in these natural collectors, later are washed
on the neighboring flat, and finally a little colony grows up about
every island of this sort.

That this is actually what happens is largely borne out both by
observation and facts. It makes little difference where these islands
are located; clams grow nearby, while all about may stretch smooth,
hard flats, perfectly adapted for clams, yet altogether barren. In view
of the somewhat incomplete investigations made in this region, it is
perhaps too sweeping to point out any single factor as the sole cause
for these waste areas; but undoubtedly the swift tides and smooth, hard
flats, which offer no resting place for the young larvæ, constitute the
main causes.

Another odd circumstance in connection with the Barnstable clam
industry is the local regulations which control the industry. Almost
all digging is carried on in the winter, as a local by-law forbids the
digging of clams in summer in any quantity exceeding 6 bushels per week
for family use. This somewhat curious by-law is designed wholly for the
benefit of the majority of the clammers, and to give them employment in
that season of the year when work is most difficult to obtain. While
interfering somewhat with summer clam bakes, the law appears to meet
the approval of the townspeople.

The south shore of Barnstable possesses many of the features of
Buzzards Bay, and produces clams only in numbers sufficient for home

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                   25
  Capital invested,                              $200
  Value of shore property,                          -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    700
      Value,                                     $550
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       200
      Mud,                                        150
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                       50
      Total,                                      400
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                               10
      Scattering clams,                            10
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        330
  Waste barren area (acres),                       50
  Possible normal production,                 $39,000


The clam industry at Yarmouth, never extensive, has steadily declined,
until now it barely supplies the demands of home consumption.
Barnstable bar on the northern coast twenty years ago produced clams in
considerable quantities, but the soil was never well adapted for this
shellfish. Scattering clams are now found there, but the grounds are
very much exposed, and cannot properly rank as clam-producing area.
Sea clams abound there at certain seasons, and furnish a transient
business; also razor clams, which are used extensively for bait.

The best clam territory is in Mill Creek, on the south shore of the
town. Scattered patches of clams also occur along the shore of Bass
River, but the whole area really available does not exceed 50 acres,
and this is not at all well improved. There are no regular clammers,
but intermittent digging produces about 600 bushels of clams annually,
which are used either for home consumption or for bait.

No effort has been made on the part of the town authorities to better
conditions, although the advisability of giving clam grants, at least
on the northern or bay side, has been discussed. No permits are
required, and local legislation does not in any way concern itself with
the clam industry.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    5
  Capital invested,                               $40
  Value of shore property,                          -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    600
      Value,                                     $500
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        25
      Mud,                                         15
      Gravel,                                      10
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       50
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                5
      Scattering clams,                            10
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         25
  Waste barren area (acres),                       10
  Possible normal production,                  $6,000


Orleans is one of the few towns in the State which shows an advance in
the clam industry. This is largely due to an increased production on
the rich flats of Nauset harbor, as the remaining available territory
in the town is declining in value. The output of 1907 is an increase of
nearly 40 per cent. over the yield of the previous year, which shows an
encouraging development.

The clam flat area of the town is divided into four rather distinct
divisions, three on the east or Atlantic side and one on the Bay or
western side. The grounds which have been dug for the longest time and
yielded uniformly the best results lie in the waters of Town Cove. Here
a strip of gravelly sand and mud about 30 feet wide extends along the
shores of this cove for 2 or 3 miles. Clams are scattered throughout
this strip, and are dug constantly.

The second division includes the bars of Nauset harbor, which at
present furnish the best digging in town. The increased value of the
town's industry is largely due to the recent development of these
flats. Clams have seeded in abundantly during the past two or three
years, and now furnish very good digging.

The third section comprises that portion of the clam flat area
bordering the coast of Pleasant Bay which crosses the town boundaries
on the southeast. Here clams are rather scarce, though dug
occasionally. This section is economically the least important of the

The fourth section extends along the western coast, on a belt of sand
bars well out in Cape Cod Bay. Clams are found on a strip about a
quarter of a mile in width, and lying over half a mile from shore. This
is a very exposed location. Billingsgate Point, projecting out from
the Wellfleet coast, offers some protection from northwest winds, and
the hills of the Cape break the force of the easterly gales; but the
full force of storms from the west and southwest sweeps these bars, and
would seem to render them unsuitable for the growth of clams. Clams are
here, however, in considerable numbers, though not so numerous as three
or four years ago, and are dug to some extent.

The greater part of the digging is done by intermittent clammers, who
obtain perhaps 2½ bushels per day. No permits are required, as there
are no town by-laws regulating the industry.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                   30
  Capital invested,                              $200
  Value of shore property,                          -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                  3,000
      Value,                                   $3,000
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       125
      Mud,                                         50
      Gravel,                                      20
      Mussels and eel grass,                        5
      Total,                                      200
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                               25
      Scattering clams,                            50
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         75
  Waste barren area (acres),                       50
  Possible normal production,                 $27,000


The town of Eastham is a sparsely settled community, and the clam
fishery, while not large, plays a rather important part in its business
activity. Six men depend quite largely upon it for a livelihood, while
some 30 others dig intermittently through the summer. The same peculiar
condition as at Orleans exists on the western coast. Here far from
shore clams are found in considerable numbers on the shifting bars. The
main source of supply, however, comes from the productive sand flats of
Nauset harbor.

These flats have seeded in only in the past two or three years, but
they have already shown latent possibilities of a future increase. In
the so-called "Salt Pond" 2 men are employed nearly the year round in
digging clams under water by a method of "churning," locally known as

The total available area in Eastham is about 200 acres. More than half
of this is sand, which includes almost all the good digging, while the
mud flats are interspersed with stretches of gravel and scattering
patches of eel grass.

The same abuses which have nearly ruined the Swansea fishery have begun
here. Small seed clams are exported in considerable quantities to
supply the summer demand of the New Bedford and Fall River districts.
While this system has not yet made its ravages apparent, a glance
at the Swansea report will serve to convince the most casual reader
that unless some steps are taken to check this evil, the practical
annihilation of the Eastham clam industry must follow. As it is, local
legislation seems powerless to cope with the problem, and no laws of
any kind relating to the clam fishery are in force.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                   36
  Capital invested,                              $250
  Value of shore property,                         --
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                  4,000
      Value,                                   $4,000
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       100
      Mud,                                         50
      Gravel,                                      30
      Mussels and eel grass,                       20
      Total,                                      200
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                               25
      Scattering clams,                            50
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        100
  Waste barren area (acres),                       25
  Possible normal production,                 $30,000


Although possessing extensive flats, Wellfleet produces at present a
relatively small amount of clams. The inhabitants realize that these
flats are capable of producing a large harvest of clams if properly
planted, and that in this way an extensive industry can be developed,
and have undertaken to restock the flats, appropriating in 1906 for
this purpose the sum of $1,000.

At Billingsgate Island there are fair clam flats, but they are not
easily accessible, as they lie at a distance of 5 miles from town.
Clams can also be obtained in more or less abundance in the thatch
which borders the flats of Blackfish Creek, Herring River and Duck
Creek. A few clams are scattered over the flats of Blackfish Creek,
particularly toward the head of the creek. Two patches of clams
covering perhaps an acre are on the flats in front of the town: one
in the stone and gravel east of Commercial wharf; the other, a more
extensive area, just west of Mercantile wharf.

Wellfleet possesses many acres of flats which, though now barren, are
capable of excellent production if properly planted. Wellfleet flats
extend from Duck Creek to Herring River and from Herring River along
the shores of Great Island for a distance of 4½ miles, and cover an
area of 400 acres. The Great Island flats are not especially adapted
for clams, and only parts of these can ever be successfully cultivated,
while possibly all the area between Duck Creek and Herring River can be
reclaimed. South Wellfleet flats, which comprise an area of 200 acres,
are much poorer flats, consisting for the most part of mud and shifting
sand. Only the firmer portions, about 50 acres, can be made productive
by planting with clams.

At Wellfleet the soft clam fishery can hardly be styled an industry.
In the winter a few men go clamming when there is nothing else to do.
The majority prefer razor clamming, which is a considerable winter
industry, owing to the demand for this bait at Provincetown. Three
men clam during the summer, doing practically all their digging at
Billingsgate, while 8 others are in this work during the winter.

The flats of Wellfleet were never very productive, but formerly were
capable of furnishing a far greater production than at present. This
decline is only accounted for by overdigging, which has brought about
the present scarcity.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                   11
  Capital invested,                              $300
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    800
      Value,                                     $640
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       450
      Mud,                                          5
      Gravel,                                     150
      Mussels and eel grass,                       --
      Total,                                      605
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                3
      Scattering clams,                            12
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        250
  Waste barren area (acres),                      340
  Possible normal production,                 $28,000


The clam flats at Truro are confined principally to the Pamet River. At
the mouth of this river near the head of the harbor bar is a sand flat
comprising several acres, where the bulk of the clams are produced. In
South Truro, Stony Bar and other similar patches of rocky beach are
fairly well bedded with clams. Scattering clams are found over the
shifting bars which skirt the main land on the bay side, but nowhere
are clams sufficiently abundant to warrant any serious attempt at
exportation. Fifteen to twenty years ago clams were everywhere much
more abundant in this region than now, and in those days some market
digging was carried on. At present the needs of the home market are
with difficulty supplied from the local production, and 100 bushels per
year would cover all clams dug both for food and bait. No effort has at
any time been made by the town authorities to increase the industry,
though the clam fishery, at least in the sheltered coves of Pamet
River, is not without possibilities of development.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    1
  Capital invested,                                $2
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                     50
      Value,                                      $60
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        50
      Mud,                                         --
      Gravel,                                      --
      Mussels and eel grass,                       --
      Total,                                       50
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                1
      Scattering clams,                             2
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         47
  Waste barren area (acres),                       --
  Possible normal production,                  $5,000


For the last five years the flats of Provincetown have produced only a
small amount of clams. Wherever clams have set in abundance they have
been quickly dug by fishermen for bait, thus checking their natural

Clams are found in the drains among the thatch beds on the southwest
side of the harbor and in Race Run, while a considerable set is
scattered between the wharves of the town. All the extensive flats at
the southwest end of the harbor are entirely barren of clams, owing
chiefly to the shifting nature of the sand, although on certain parts
of these, especially near the thatch, clams would grow if planted. As
it is, the shifting sand makes it impossible for the young clams to set
on this area.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    5
  Capital invested,                               $15
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    400
      Value,                                     $320
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       400
      Mud,                                          -
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      400
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                3
      Scattering clams,                             3
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        200
  Waste barren area (acres),                      194
  Possible normal production,                 $21,000


Chatham can no longer be considered as the best clam-producing town of
southern Massachusetts. In 1879 Chatham produced a greater quantity
of soft clams than all the rest of the Cape; to-day all has changed,
and the annual output is far less than several other towns of the Cape

The town of Chatham is situated in the southeastern portion of Cape
Cod, and includes that part which is commonly called the "elbow" of the
Cape. It is surrounded on the north, east and south sides by the ocean,
while on the south the peninsula known as Monomoy Island extends for 9

The clamming territory of Chatham is situated in Stage harbor, Pleasant
Bay and at Monomoy Point.

In Stage harbor clams are found along the sides of the Mill Pond,
comprising possibly an acre, and in the eastern end of the harbor
toward the dike, where about 3 acres of flats are thickly set.

An extended area of sand flats are found in Pleasant Bay. But small
parts of this area furnish good clamming, and the Common Flats on the
inside of Monomoy Island, where once there were acres of good clams,
now lie entirely barren except for a small patch of set just north of
Brant Island, comprising about 1/5 of an acre. Here are about 100 acres
of barren flats which only need planting to be made productive.

The commercial clam fishery, of the town is carried on at Monomoy
Point, where 5 acres of the best clamming in Massachusetts is found.
The Powder Hole flats, formed of coarse, clean sand, are thickly set
with clams of all sizes, and furnish excellent digging. A good clammer
can obtain from 5 to 6 bushels per tide from these flats.

Clams are dug at Chatham during the fishing season chiefly for bait.
Such digging lasts through the fall and winter. In the summer, clams
are dug only for food, as no cod fishing is conducted in the warm
months. From 10 to 15 men were engaged in clamming during the summer
of 1907, travelling from Chatham to Monomoy Point in power or sail
dories. Practically all the clams dug came from the Powder Hole flats
at Monomoy Point. These were purchased at Chatham wharf by fish firms
at the price of $2 per barrel.

The winter clam fishery of Chatham was once an important industry,
which started in 1875 when clams were in great demand as fish bait. The
following table shows how this industry has declined:--

                               |  1879.  |   1907.
  Number of men,               |     150 |     10
  Annual production (bushels), |  35,000 |  1,500
  Value of production,         | $12,250 | $1,200
  Price per bushel (cents),    |      35 |     80
  Capital invested,            |  $2,000 |   $400

Owing to the large amount of clams dug by fishing vessels, the
following restrictions were incorporated in 1881 as a State law, which
reads as follows:--

    No fisherman or any other person shall take from the towns of
    Chatham and Nantucket any shellfish, for bait or other use,
    except clams and a shellfish commonly known by the name of
    horse feet, and no quantity exceeding seven bushels of clams,
    including shells or one hundred of said horse feet shall be
    taken in one week for each vessel or craft, nor in any case
    without a permit being first obtained from the selectmen of the

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                   10
  Capital invested,                              $400
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                  1,500
      Value,                                   $1,200
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       330
      Mud,                                         10
      Gravel,                                      20
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      360
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                               10
      Scattering clams,                            50
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        300
  Waste barren area (acres),                        -
  Possible normal production,                 $44,000


The town of Harwich possesses but little clam area. A few clams are
obtainable on the shores of Pleasant Bay and Mud Creek in limited
localities, while in the southern waters of the town there is some
digging in Wychmere harbor and in Herring River. The total area of clam
flats is not more than 1½ acres.

There are no regular clammers engaged in the business, all the clams
dug being used only for home consumption.

In 1905 there was a town law restricting the digging in Wychmere
harbor, except for bait, to one day in the week.


   YEAR.  | Production |   Value. | Men.
          | (Bushels). |          |
   1879,  |   1,125    |   $400   |  15
   1907,  |     100    |    100   |   -

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    100
      Value,                                      $80
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        10
      Mud,                                         10
      Gravel,                                      10
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       30
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                1
      Scattering clams,                             5
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         10
  Waste barren area (acres),                       14
  Possible normal production,                  $2,400


As the town of Dennis has mutual fishery rights with the town of
Yarmouth, the clam flats of Bass River, which lie between the towns,
are free to any inhabitant of Dennis. A few clams are also dug in Swan
Pond River.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                     50
      Value,                                      $45
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        25
      Mud,                                         15
      Gravel,                                      10
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       50
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                1
      Scattering clams,                             4
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         30
  Waste barren area (acres),                       15
  Possible normal production,                  $4,200


The clam fishery at Mashpee is of hardly sufficient proportions to
rank as an industry. The shores of the Popponesset River furnish
perhaps favorable conditions for the growth of this shellfish, but
the available territory is small, not exceeding 50 acres, and of this
only a small percentage, comprising scattered patches of gravel-mud,
produces clams in any abundance.

No effort is made at exportation for market, and under the present
circumstances it is doubtful if a greater yield than that required to
supply home consumption could be expected. No effort is made on the
part of local legislation to control the industry or foster it in any

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    2
  Capital invested,                               $20
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                     50
      Value,                                      $45
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        20
      Mud,                                          5
      Gravel,                                      20
      Mussels and eel grass,                        5
      Total,                                       50
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                2
      Scattering clams,                             8
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         30
  Waste barren area (acres),                       10
  Possible normal production,                  $5,400

_Buzzards Bay._

The section of Massachusetts bordering the shores of Buzzards Bay
supports a flourishing quahaug, oyster and scallop fishery, capable of
great development. The clam industry, however, never very extensive,
is of very slight significance at present, and can never attain the
same degree of importance as the other shellfisheries, owing to the
limited area available for clams. To those familiar with the harbors
of Newburyport and Duxbury and their vast tidal flats with their
latent possibilities, the shores of Buzzards Bay present indeed a
notable contrast. Bluff and hilly for the most part, and frequently
rocky, nowhere do they show extensive flats suitable for clam culture.
That clams grow wherever opportunity permits is evident, for they
are found on gravelly stretches or among rocks all along the coast,
except in those localities openly exposed to the full force of the
sea. But allowing for all possible favorable features, the lack of any
considerable territory is a disadvantage that will forever act as a
barrier to any expansion. Falmouth and Dartmouth on the east and west
sides of Buzzards Bay respectively differ materially from the remaining
towns of the district, in the fact that the characteristic soil of
their clam grounds is sand; while the other towns have little in the
shape of available territory except gravel stretches along the shores
of coves, small areas of mud, and the rocky beaches of points and
headlands. The yearly output hardly anywhere suffices for the needs of
home consumption. Nowhere is any attempt at exportation possible. The
business, such as it is, is carried on in a very intermittent fashion,
chiefly in the summer, with but a small investment of capital.

Special local regulation seems to remain aloof from the problem of
insuring a future clam supply. That the combined area of all the towns
of Buzzards Bay does not equal that of a single town in the Cape Ann
district is an undeniable truth; but the fact nevertheless remains
that an industry far more considerable than exists at present could be
supported, and it is truly to the interest of the towns of this region
to make the best possible use of their limited advantages.


Falmouth has a long coast line not only on Buzzards Bay but also on
Vineyard Sound. The flats at North and West Falmouth on the bay side
are similar to those of Wareham and Bourne, though there are several
small patches of quite good digging. On the southern shore there
are clams scattered along the coasts of the various indentations,
particularly at Waquoit Bay.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    200
      Value,                                     $175
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        40
      Mud,                                          5
      Gravel,                                       5
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       50
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                2
      Scattering clams,                             8
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         40
  Waste barren area (acres),                        -
  Possible normal production,                  $6,400


The clam industry at Bourne is practically extinct. Scarcely any
clamming is carried on by the inhabitants of the town, even for their
own use, as clams have become so scattering that it hardly pays to dig
them. The territory is much the same in extent and general character as
that of Wareham, but it has been over-dug to a greater degree, and has
become nearly barren.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    100
      Value,                                     $100
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                         5
      Mud,                                          5
      Gravel,                                      30
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       40
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            30
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),          -
  Waste barren area (acres),                       10
  Possible normal production,                  $6,000


Wareham leads the towns of Buzzards Bay in the production of clams,
although its annual output is only 600 bushels. This clearly shows the
low ebb to which the industry has fallen in this region.

There are no true tide flats in Wareham, but the total area of the
mud-gravel and rocky bottom between high and low water mark where
scattering clams are found is nearly 100 acres. There are no regular
fishermen, but some half dozen quahaugers dig clams from time to time,
chiefly during the summer, to supply the home market.

The industry, such as it is, appears to be about stationary at present,
though in production it has declined notably during the last twenty
years. The town officials have attempted no measures to revive the
failing fishery, and no town laws affect it in any way.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    6
  Capital invested,                              $100
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    800
      Value,                                     $800
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        15
      Mud,                                         10
      Gravel,                                      75
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      100
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            50
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),          -
  Waste barren area (acres),                       50
  Possible normal production,                 $10,000


The wealthy summer residents at Marion create a demand for clams at
a very substantial price. In spite of the increased price, there is
little inducement to engage in this industry as a livelihood, and only
1 man digs steadily through the summer months, though intermittent
digging is done by others to supply the local market.

The best clamming is on the east coast of Great Neck and in Wing's
Cove. These grounds are difficult of access, and consequently have not
been so much overworked as the nearer shores of Ram's Island, Allan's
Point and Blankinship's Cove. The total area does not exceed 10 acres,
and this for the most part is very poor territory; while the clams
coming from these rock and gravel beaches are not of very good quality,
the shells being usually gnarled and crooked.

There is no town legislation relating to this industry, and though it
is becoming of less consequence every year, nothing is done to revive

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    1
  Capital invested,                               $15
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    100
      Value,                                     $100
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                         -
      Mud,                                          -
      Gravel,                                      10
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       10
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            10
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),          -
  Waste barren area (acres),                        -
  Possible normal production,                  $2,000


The coast of Mattapoisett, more open and exposed than that of
Fairhaven, does not offer equal advantages to the cultivation of
clams. A similar strip of gravel-mud or sand occurs along the more
sheltered portions of the coast, and wherever an indentation in the
mainland offers shelter clams may be found, though never in sufficient
quantities to make digging profitable. There is really no industry at
all; the few clams that are dug go for home trade or are used as bait,
and the prospects of any decided improvement appear to be slight.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    1
  Capital invested,                               $15
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    100
      Value,                                     $100
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                         -
      Mud,                                          5
      Gravel,                                       5
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       10
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            10
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),          -
  Waste barren area (acres),                        -
  Possible normal production,                  $2,000


The clam industry at Fairhaven suffers from the unsanitary condition
of the flats, though in a lesser degree than at New Bedford. The
finest clam grounds of this town lie in the proscribed district of the
Acushnet River, and handling or eating shellfish from this area is a
positive menace to the public health.

A strip of gravel-mud about 100 feet in average width fringes the
shores of Priest's Cove, and this strip furnishes at present the best
digging. Scattered patches of clams occur along the indentations of
Sconticut Neck, around West Island and along the coast of Little
Bay. No men are regularly employed in digging clams, though a rather
inefficient attempt is made at times to supply the local demand.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    100
      Value,                                     $100
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                         -
      Mud,                                         25
      Gravel,                                      25
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       50
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            25
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         25
  Waste barren area (acres),                        -
  Possible normal production,                  $7,500

_New Bedford._

The clam industry at New Bedford was never of any great importance,
but the unwise methods of sewage disposal of the city, whereby the
effluent enters the harbor in close proximity to the clam flats,
renders the taking of shellfish a positive menace to the public health.
The action of the State Board of Health in closing the Acushnet River
and Clark's Cove to the clam digger virtually annihilated the remnant
of the industry. Now practically all the available territory of the
city is proscribed, and no clams are allowed to be taken from this
area except for use as bait. Licenses are also required to take clams
even for bait from this proscribed territory. Three hundred and twenty
of these licenses have been issued since the passage of the act in
1904. The annual yield of clams for this purpose cannot be accurately
ascertained, but probably does not exceed 250 bushels. No important
clam industry would ever have been possible at New Bedford, under any
circumstances, but the slight possibilities which once existed have
been swept away and can never return under the present conditions,
though shellfish grown in this region could, if suitable legislation
were enacted, be transplanted to a sanitary environment, where in a
month all danger of spreading typhoid germs would be avoided.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Licenses for bait,                              320
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels (for bait),                         300
      Value,                                     $225
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                         5
      Mud,                                          5
      Gravel,                                      15
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       25
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            15
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),          -
  Waste barren area (acres),                       10
  Possible normal production,                  $3,000


The town of Dartmouth possesses a wide expanse of territory, but the
actual amount of available clam ground is not as large as it would
appear at first sight. Clams are found in more or less abundance at the
following places: (1) Rickerson's Point (2/3 acre); (2) Apponagansett
River (6 acres); (3) Apponagansett harbor (1 acre); (4) Nonquit (1/10
acre); (5) Round Hill Point (1/5 acre); (6) Salter's Point (3/4 acre);
(7) Smith's Neck (3/5 acre); (8) Little River (7-1/2 acres); (9)
Slocum's River (6 acres); comprising a total of 23 acres. The best
clamming is obtained on the flats of Little and Slocum's rivers. In
Apponagansett River clams are dug in the summer for the Padanaram clam

A town by-law placing a closed season on Slocum's River was in
force during the years 1904 and 1905. In 1906 Dartmouth, by a State
law, required permits for clamming. These permits are issued by the
selectmen free of charge.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    4
  Capital invested,                               $50
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    200
      Value,                                     $160
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                        15
      Mud,                                         10
      Gravel,                                       5
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       30
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                5
      Scattering clams,                            15
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),          -
  Waste barren area (acres),                       10
  Possible normal production,                  $5,000

_The Fall River District (Narragansett Bay)._

The section of country bordering on Narragansett Bay and the Rhode
Island line comprises a territory remote from the other clam-producing
districts of the State, and possessing many characteristics not found
in any other locality. Six towns of this region enjoy the privileges
of a clam industry, situated as they are on the shores of Mt. Hope
Bay and its tributary streams, the Cole, Lee and Taunton rivers.
Beginning with the most westerly and taking them in order, these towns
comprise Swansea, Somerset, Dighton, Berkley, Freetown and Fall River.
These towns differ only in extent of resources or development of the
industry, while the general nature of the clam flats and the methods
employed in carrying on the business are essentially alike for all.
The area in this region suitable for clam culture possesses some of
the distinguishing features of the typical north shore flats, some
of the Buzzards Bay variety and some peculiar to itself. There are
scarcely any sand flats, and the prevailing type of soil is mud, as at
Newburyport, or gravel, as in Buzzards Bay; while the greater part of
the clam supply comes from a large and rather indefinite area, which is
not properly tide flat at all, but lies continuously submerged.

The methods employed in carrying on this industry include both wet and
dry digging. On the tide flats the clams are dug as elsewhere on the
south shore, with hoes or the common digger. Where, however, clams
are dug in 2 or 3 feet of water, as is most frequently the case, an
ordinary long-handled shovel and wire basket are employed. The soil
containing the clams is shoveled into the baskets, and then the clams
are sifted out under water. Several years ago an attempt was made
to dig clams by machinery. An enterprising oysterman spent several
hundred dollars in constructing a machine which was designed to farm
the under-water districts more quickly and successfully than could be
done by hand. The device had some of the principles of a suction pump,
and theoretically the clams on the submerged flats could be washed out
from the soil and collected in a receptacle. The machine worked well
enough in extracting the clams from the mud, but failed completely
when it came to collecting them. In short, after a thorough trial it
was pronounced a failure and had to be abandoned.

The main peculiarity of this region, and a far more important one
than the type of soil or the methods of digging, is the nature of the
clams which are produced. The inadequate territory and the constantly
increasing demands of the Fall River markets have led to abuses which
have had a most disastrous effect on the clam industry, and unless
checked, and soon, these abuses will certainly cause its complete
annihilation. The abuses in question are the universal custom of
digging small seed clams for food. So importunate have the markets of
Fall River and the vicinity become, that when the supply of suitable
clams proves inadequate they demand and will gladly take "anything with
a shell on," as the dealers say, so that it is no uncommon sight to see
exposed for sale in the city markets clams of only 1 inch in length.
This deplorable condition is fostered by the custom of digging under
water, for the fine mesh of the woven-wire baskets retains even the
smallest clams, which are saved for market.

No quicker or surer way of destroying the industry completely could
have been devised than this method of digging seed clams for food. One
barrel of these clams would produce 10 to 15 barrels of marketable
clams if left for one year under favorable circumstances. Thus, when
a clammer digs 1 barrel of these clams he is in reality destroying 10
or more barrels. This is truly reaping the "seed" before it has had
any time to mature the proper harvest. Also, these "seed" clams are so
immature that in many cases they have not spawned, and thus the clammer
by destroying the clams in this manner damages irrevocably all chances
of restocking the flats.

From the inherent difficulties of the problem, however, local
regulation seems powerless to cope with the evil. The short-sighted
clammers, while they know that these methods, if pursued very far,
will ultimately destroy the industry, seem willing, nevertheless,
to sacrifice the future for the present. The other clammers are
inevitably brought into line on this mistaken policy, as they cannot
but argue that if a few will persist in exploiting a natural resource
it is the right of every man to have an equal chance, and take his
share of the proceeds as long as they last. Another potent factor in
this wastefulness is the irresponsible foreign element of the mill
districts, who dig clams for their own use, large or small, with entire
indifference. It might perhaps prove unjust and difficult to enforce
laws preventing individuals digging "seed" clams for their own use; but
legislation could possibly be enacted preventing the sale of such seed
in the public market. This would strike a blow at the abuse sufficient
to rob it of its worst features. The most casual glance at the facts
in the case prove that there is a pressing need for some legislative
action. The history of the clam industry in this region is one of
steady and rapid decline. Any clammer of the vicinity is willing to
acknowledge that conditions at present are in a very unsatisfactory
state. The output of clams has greatly diminished, both in the
consensus of opinion of those interested in the business, and also
according to statistical figures. Furthermore, the end of the industry,
as far as any economic importance is concerned, is plainly in sight,
and at the present rate of destruction cannot long be delayed. It would
seem that here was a striking example of the need of prompt and wise
legislation for the protection and development of an industry which has
made large profits for the community, and might yield still greater
returns if properly regulated.

The towns of this region can never compete with the towns of the
Newburyport district in the production of clams, for the reason that
they have by no means an equal acreage of suitable flats. The Taunton
River is also a considerable factor, as its contaminated waters impair
the quality of clams grown along its shores. There remains, however,
a considerable extent of suitable territory which might yield a large
product if rightly controlled, and this territory, with its inherent
possibilities depleted to the verge of exhaustion by unwise and
wasteful methods, it is for the interest of the Commonwealth to protect
and improve.


Swansea, the most western town of this district, is by far the
most favorably located, and has the greatest possibilities of clam
production. Situated on the northern shore of Mt. Hope Bay, and
containing the majority of the flats in the Cole and Lee rivers, it
possesses a greater available territory free from the contaminating
influences of the Taunton River than any other town in this region.

Altogether, 200 acres comprise the possibly available clam area of this
town. The best of this area is located in Cole's River, and includes
Long Beach flat, the best flat of the district. Situated on the east
shore of the river just below the railroad bridge, this flat stretches
south in a broad triangle comprising some 20 acres of smooth, semihard
mud. Over the main flat is sprinkled a very thick set of ½ inch to 1
inch clams, interspersed with some of larger growth. While this is
the best flat, other flats extend along both shores far up the river
until the clams become too "fresh" to be very good. Flats also occur
in the Lee River, and there is a large and rather indeterminate amount
of under-water territory. The total area suitable for culture is not
far from 150 acres; of this, about 20 acres are gravel and the rest
practically all mud.

No permits are necessary to dig clams on tidal flats, but permits are
required to "churn" clams under water. Twenty of these permits were
issued last year. Usually in digging under water two men work together,
one shovelling the mud into the wire baskets and the other sifting out
the clams. About 75 per cent. of the clams produced come from these
under-water areas, as the tide flats are for the most part nearly

The season lasts all the year round, though most of the clams are dug
in the summer time. Of late years it has become increasingly hard for a
man to earn a living by clamming, as only 1 to 1½ bushels now comprise
an average day's work under the most favorable circumstances. Many of
the clammers are leaving the business and seeking a livelihood in other

The history of the industry is one of marked decline. The most
conservative clammer estimates that at the present rate the passing of
five years will witness the complete annihilation of the industry.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                   25
  Capital invested,                              $250
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                  5,000
      Value,                                   $5,000
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       100
      Mud,                                        100
      Gravel,                                       -
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      200
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                               20
      Scattering clams,                            30
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        100
  Waste barren area (acres),                       50
  Possible normal production,                 $24,000


Somerset, the next town in order, joins Swansea on the east and
extends several miles up the left bank of the Taunton River. Its flats
on the south and west, particularly in the Lee River, produce some
clams, though the industry is practically run out. The total clam area
comprises about 75 acres. This is mostly mud, though gravel stretches
along the shore aggregate perhaps 10 acres. The development of latent
possibilities in this territory is largely curtailed by the disastrous
effects of the Taunton River upon the clams. This water, contaminated
by the manufacturing plants of Taunton, makes the clams grown in the
northern part of the town of inferior taste and quality.

Six licenses, costing $1 apiece, were issued last year for "churning"
clams. No permits other than these are required.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                     50
      Value,                                      $50
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                         -
      Mud,                                         25
      Gravel,                                      25
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       50
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            10
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         20
  Waste barren area (acres),                       20
  Possible normal production,                  $4,000


Dighton has a very limited area of clam flat, comprising only about 10
acres. Clams extend but little beyond the southern boundary of the town
on the Taunton River and about ¾ mile up the Segregansett River on the
west. Practically no business is made of clamming by the citizens of
the town except for local consumption. About 40 bushels were "churned"
last year by outsiders. No permits are issued.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                     40
      Value,                                      $40
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                         -
      Mud,                                          5
      Gravel,                                       5
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       10
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                             2
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),          8
  Waste barren area (acres),                        -
  Possible normal production,                  $1,200


Berkley, on the right bank of the Taunton River, opposite Dighton, has
a very similar clam territory both in extent and characteristics. But
little use is made of the clam except for bait, as the river water
renders them very unsatisfactory as food.

There is practically no industry, and there never could be any of
importance, owing to the very limited area and the contamination of the

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                     25
      Value,                                      $25
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                         -
      Mud,                                          5
      Gravel,                                       5
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       10
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                             4
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),          6
  Waste barren area (acres),                        -
  Possible normal production,                  $1,400


Freetown, joining Berkley on the south near the Fall River line,
possesses a number of clam flats, aggregating 25 acres. Very little
business is carried on, although conditions are better than in Berkley
or Dighton. The clams, too, are of better quality, being freer from
the disagreeable flavor of clams grown farther up the river. The
possibilities for clam culture in this town are not attractive, but the
present conditions can be vastly improved.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    100
      Value,                                     $100
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                         -
      Mud,                                         10
      Gravel,                                      15
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       25
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            15
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),          -
  Waste barren area (acres),                       10
  Possible normal production,                  $3,000

_Fall River._

Fall River has no clam territory on the south, owing to the wharves
and other obstructions. On the more open waters of the north towards
Freetown there is an extent of clam ground occupying about 25 acres.
The foreign element in the city dig here for food, and some clams are
likewise dug for bait, but the industry on the whole is of little

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    -
  Capital invested,                                 -
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    100
      Value,                                      $75
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                         -
      Mud,                                         20
      Gravel,                                       5
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                       25
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                -
      Scattering clams,                            10
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         15
  Waste barren area (acres),                        -
  Possible normal production,                  $3,500


At present Nantucket does not possess a clam industry of any
importance. Years ago it is claimed that clams were abundant, and that
quantities were dug for food or for bait. Now the reverse is true, and
the fisherman often finds it difficult to procure clams even for bait.
Indeed, Nantucket furnishes an excellent illustration of the decline of
the clam industry.

Practically all the flats of Nantucket are shore flats _i.e._, narrow
flats along the shores of the harbor and on the sides of the creeks.
Thus the area, though extending for many miles, is not great, and
the clam industry of the island, though capable of development,
nevertheless can never assume the importance of the quahaug and the
scallop fisheries. In Nantucket harbor clams are found in the creeks,
and particularly in Polpis harbor, although scattering clams are found
all along the south shore of the harbor. A few clams are found on the
north side in Coatou Creek and in First and Second Bend. The flats in
Nantucket harbor are all coarse sand or a fine gravel, except in the
creeks, where they become muddy. On the eastern and southern sides
clams are found in scattering quantities in Maddequet harbor, on the
north side of Tuckernuck and in the cove on the south side of Muskeget.


            PRODUCTION.        |     1879.       |       1907.
  Bushels,                     |     2,253       |        400
  Value,                       |      $872       |       $350

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    4
  Capital invested,                               $40
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                    400
      Value,                                     $350
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       150
      Mud,                                         25
      Gravel,                                      25
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      200
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                                5
      Scattering clams,                            15
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),        130
  Waste barren area (acres),                       50
  Possible normal production,                 $18,000


Although Edgartown possesses 200 acres of clam flats, it is not in a
true sense a clam-producing town. The reason for this small production
is due to the nature of the flats, which are mostly under water at
low tide, making clamming difficult. Naturally Edgartown devotes its
energies to the more profitable quahaug and scallop fisheries.

The clam flats of the town are situated along the shores of Cape Poge
Pond and in the lower part of Katama Bay, where many acres of flats are
continually submerged. The shore flats are of small area, owing to the
light rise and fall of the tide, less than 3 feet at this part of the

(1) _Cape Poge Pond._--Scattering clams are found all along the shore
flats, except for a ¾-mile strip on the west side. The soil is of a
coarse sand or gravel.

(2) _Katama Bay._--The best clam flats of the town are situated in
Katama Bay, and extend over a considerable territory. These flats,
consisting of a coarse, sandy soil, lie continually submerged. Here the
clams are dug by means of a "sea horse." This "animal" is nothing more
than an elongated clam hoe with a belt attachment, whereby the clammer
can "churn" out the clams at a depth of 2 to 3 feet.

The clam industry of Edgartown has fallen off considerably since 1879.
However, the clammers say that it has improved during the last fifteen
years. The following comparison is made between the production of 1879
and 1907:--

                     COMPARISON OF 1907 WITH 1879.

    YEAR.  | Production | Production | Production | Value of
           |  for Food  |  for Bait  | (Bushels). | Production.
           | (Bushels). | (Bushels). |            |
  1879,    |   1,000    |   3,000    |   4,000    |   $1,570
  1907,    |     625    |     575    |   1,200    |    1,000

The general shellfish regulations which govern the other shellfisheries
of the town apply to the clam fishery; but the industry has never been
considered important enough to need special legislation, and but slight
attention has been given to it.

                          SUMMARY OF INDUSTRY.

  Number of men,                                    7
  Capital invested,                               $50
  Production, 1907:--
      Bushels,                                  1,200
      Value,                                   $1,000
  Total area (acres):--
      Sand,                                       150
      Mud,                                          -
      Gravel,                                      50
      Mussels and eel grass,                        -
      Total,                                      200
  Productive area (acres):--
      Good clamming,                               20
      Scattering clams,                           100
  Barren area possibly productive (acres),         50
  Waste barren area (acres),                       30
  Possible normal production,                 $33,000

In the opinion of many, doubtless, this report may appear unduly
lengthy, and to include many seemingly trivial facts and unnecessary
repetitions. To the trained observer, however, it seems of the greatest
importance in dealing with such a practical and important problem to
place on record all facts and opinions which may become of value, and
to emphasize by frequent repetitions certain fundamental facts.

                        Respectfully submitted,

                                                          D. L. BELDING.

The preceding report is intended to be a reliable statement of
facts, and suggestions for consideration. On such a basis of facts
the future policy of developing the shellfisheries must be based. It
is the purpose of the Commissioners on Fisheries and Game to hold
a series of public hearings in the different sections of the State
for the purpose of giving personal expositions of the shellfish
conditions and possibilities, and of giving a better opportunity for
exchanging, discussing and weighing opinions. Meantime, in considering
the conditions of the shellfisheries of Massachusetts, and the laws
necessary to improve these conditions, the following points are of

The present shellfish laws are based upon the principle of "public"
fisheries, and were made at times and at places where there was such
a superabundance that the natural increase was sufficient to meet
the market demands. Artificial cultivation was unnecessary. The
fundamental laws were made in the colonial days. Since then the demand
for shellfish as food has enormously increased, and for many years the
annual natural increase has been entirely inadequate to meet these
demands. We have outgrown the conditions which the original conception
of that law covered. Under parallel conditions it has been found
necessary to sell or lease the public lands, in order that the yield of
food may be increased by cultivation under the immediate direction and
responsibility of individual citizens, and under protection of State
and national laws. When it was learned that the yield of a cultivated
oyster bed far exceeded the natural product both in quantity and
quality, the oyster laws were so modified that an important industry
was built up, until to-day practically the entire oyster yield of
Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut is from cultivated beds,
and the total product is many times the total catch from the natural
beds in their palmiest days. To-day not only is it necessary to so
modify the oyster laws as to increase the opportunities for better
utilizing our bays and estuaries for oyster growing on a more extensive
scale than is done at present, but also for developing similar methods
of growing clams and quahaugs, and perhaps also scallops. The tidal
flats must, as well as the deeper waters, be made to produce food and
money by securing a larger yield per acre, and by the utilization of
thousands of acres which are now practically idle, but which either are
now adapted for growing shellfish or can readily be made so.

Our present shellfish laws are a heterogeneous, conflicting patchwork,
devised to meet temporary and local conditions, utterly inadequate
to-day to permit the fishermen to secure a just return for their labor,
and completely sacrificing the public interests. In many cases the
responsible tax-paying citizen cannot find a place to dig a family
supply of clams or quahaugs, neither can the industrious native
fisherman get a fair day's pay for his labor.

An entirely new code of shellfish laws is necessary, based upon the
general principles (1) that in selling the shores the State reserved
the right of fishing as "far as the tide doth ebb and flow," and (2)
that the State may now lease these fishing rights under such conditions
and restrictions as to secure to every citizen so desiring and so
deserving an opportunity to cultivate such a definite area as may meet
his needs and powers. Experience has proved conclusively that it is
a correct economic principle for the State to give a secure title to
certain carefully defined lands to a capable man, and to say: "This
land is yours. You may raise potatoes, corn, hay or anything you
choose. Every plant, fruit or tree growing on this property is yours.
You have become responsible for its right and proper use. You have full
and complete rights in this property, and can develop it by investing
your labor and your money according to your own judgment, and the State
will protect you in these rights as long as you do not interfere with
the rights of other persons." Equally so it is an indubitable economic
fact that the landowner finds it more profitable to plant or transplant
corn, potatoes, grass, strawberries, etc., rather than to depend upon
the natural methods and yield. Similarly, it is equally logical for the
State to give to the fisherman equal opportunities with the farmer. The
State should guarantee the tenure of the fisherman in his definitely
bounded shellfish garden, and should protect his interests and the
property on that garden as securely as if it were potatoes or corn,
and should, so far as possible, guard him from local jealousy or the
effects of petty politics so long as he continues wisely to improve
his grant in conformity to the spirit and letter of laws which are
found by experience to give the greatest good to the greatest number.

Further, the State should protect the fishermen and the consumers of
shellfish by defining the areas which from a sanitary point of view
are (1) totally unsuitable for shellfish cultivation; (2) those where
shellfish may be grown but not eaten; and, finally, (3) definite areas
from which alone shellfish may be sold for food. Provide suitable
penalties for sale of shellfish which have not been kept for the
required time (at least thirty days) in sanitary surroundings before
going to market. The entire question of pollution of streams and
estuaries must be carefully considered in view of the public rights
and of the commercial interests of the fishermen. Further, the laws
must be so carefully drawn that the respective rights and interests of
individual fishermen, shore owners, summer cottagers and the transient
public at the seashore are completely safeguarded against the dangers
of predatory wealth monopolizing the opportunities for cultivating
shellfish in the waters and the tidal flats.

The situation is extremely complicated on account of the diverse
conditions and the numerous conflicting interests, oystermen,
quahaugers, clammers and scallopers, native and alien fishermen, owners
of shore property, town and State rights, local interests and petty
politics, and careful judicial consideration is necessary not alone
as to the substance of the necessary laws, but upon the methods of
administering these laws.

                        Respectfully submitted,

                                                         G. W. FIELD.
                                                         J. W. DELANO.
                                                         G. H. GARFIELD.


[17] Licenses.

[18] Licences for bait.

[19] Licenses.

[20] Statistics of the number of men engaged were unobtainable.



    Clam industry, 207-209
    Oyster industry, 147-149
    Quahaug industry, 52, 53
    Scallop industry, 96-98

    Clam industry, 229, 230
    Oyster industry, 156-158

  Beverly, clam industry, 192

  Boston harbor, clam industry, 196-198

    Clam industry, 220
    Oyster industry, 153, 154
    Quahaug industry, 53, 54
    Scallop industry, 98, 99

  Brewster, scallop industry, 99

  Buzzard's Bay district:--
    Clam industry, 219
    Oyster industry, 150-152

  Capital, 36

    Clam industry, 215, 216
    Oyster industry, 144-146
    Quahaug industry, 55, 56
    Scallop industry, 99-101

    Decline, 165, 166
    Distribution, 159
    Farming, 167-176
    Growth, 171-173
    History in Massachusetts, 176-178
    Industry in Massachusetts, 178-180
    Production for Massachusetts since 1880, 178
    Remedy for decline, 167
    Seed, 174
    Statistics of industry in Massachusetts, 161-164

  Cohasset, clam industry, 200

    Clam industry, 224, 225
    Quahaug industry, 56
    Scallop industry, 103

    Clam industry, 217, 218
    Oyster industry, 146, 147
    Quahaug industry, 56
    Scallop industry, 101-103

    Clam industry, 229
    Oyster industry, 156-158
    Duxbury, clam industry, 202-204

    Clam industry, 211, 212
    Oyster industry, 144
    Quahaug industry, 56,57
    Scallop industry, 103

    Clam industry, 232, 233
    Quahaug industry, 58-60
    Scallop industry, 103-105

  Essex, clam industry, 188-190

    Clam industry, 223
    Quahaug industry, 60, 61
    Scallop industry, 105, 106

  Fall River, clam industry, 231

  Fall River district:--
    Clam industry, 225-227
    Oyster industry, 156-158
    Scallop industry, 106

    Clam industry, 219, 220
    Oyster industry, 149, 150
    Quahaug industry, 61, 62
    Scallop industry, 106

  Fishing rights of the public, 26

  Food value of shellfish, 92

    Clam industry, 230
    Oyster industry, 156-158

  Gloucester, clam industry, 190, 191

    Clam industry, 217
    Oyster industry, 146
    Quahaug industry, 62, 63
    Scallop industry, 106, 107

  Hingham, clam industry, 199

  Hull, clam industry, 199, 200

  Ipswich, clam industry, 185-188

  Kingston, clam industry, 205, 206

    Oyster, 127-132
    Quahaug, 50, 51
    Scallop, 92, 93
    Shellfish, 25-30

  Lynn, clam industry, 193, 194

  Manchester, clam industry, 191, 192

    Clam industry, 221, 222
    Oyster industry, 156
    Quahaug industry, 63, 64
    Scallop industry, 107, 108

  Marshfield, clam industry, 201, 202

    Clam industry, 218
    Oyster industry, 149
    Quahaug industry, 64, 65
    Scallop industry, 108

    Clam industry, 222
    Quahaug industry, 65, 66
    Scallop industry, 108, 109

  Methods of work, 16
    Clam, 160, 161
    Oyster, 117, 118
    Quahaug, 38
    Scallop, 81

  Monopoly, 36

  Nahant, clam industry, 195, 196

    Clam industry, 231, 232
    Oyster industry, 158, 159
    Quahaug industry, 66-69
    Scallop industry, 109-111

  Narragansett Bay:--
    Clam industry, 225-227
    Oyster industry, 156-158

  New Bedford:--
    Clam industry, 223, 224
    Quahaug industry, 69, 70
    Scallop industry, 111-113

  Newbury, clam industry, 184, 185

  Newburyport, clam industry, 182, 183

    Clam industry, 210, 211
    Oyster industry, 144
    Quahaug industry, 70-72
    Scallop industry, 113

  Overfishing, 23

    Enemies, 155
    Grants, 119
    Natural beds, 119-123
    Statistics, 136-138
    Spat collecting, 133, 134

  Oystermen v. quahaugers, 152

  Plymouth, clam industry, 206, 207

  Pollution, water, 23-25, 236

  Protection, 26, 27

    Clam industry, 214, 215
    Quahaug industry, 72
    Scallop industry, 113

    Decline, 38-40
    Distribution, 36, 37
    Farming, 40-43
    Growth, 42
    History in Massachusetts, 49, 50
    Industry, 43-49
    Rakes, 44, 45
    Spat collecting, 43
    Statistics, 51

  Quahaugers v. oystermen, 152

  Resources, unimproved, 19

  Salem, clam industry, 193

  Salisbury, clam industry, 180-182

  Sanitary conditions, 236

  Saugus, clam industry, 194, 195

    Decline, 82-84
    Distribution, 80
    Dredges, 86-88
    "Eye," 88
    History in Massachusetts, 93, 94
    Improvements, 84
    Industry, 85-91
    Maine, 90
    Market, 90
    Openers, 88
    Outfit, 90, 91
    "Pusher," 85
    Season, 91
    Shanties, 88
    Soaking, 89, 90
    Statistics, 95

  Scituate, clam industry, 201

  Sectional jealousy, 31

    Abuses, 25-33
    Decline, 20-25
    Development, 19
    Production since 1879, 20
    Remedy, 33-35
    Statistics, 19

    Clam industry, 228, 229
    Oyster industry, 156-158

  Statistical summaries:--
    Clam industry, 161-164
    Oyster industry, 136-138
    Quahaug industry, 51
    Scallop industry, 95
    Shellfish industry, 19

    Clam industry, 227, 228
    Oyster industry, 156-158
    Quahaug industry, 72

  Tisbury, scallop industry, 113

  Town jealousy, 31

    Clam industry, 213, 214
    Quahaug industry, 72

    Clam industry, 221
    Oyster industry, 154-156
    Quahaug industry, 72-74
    Scallop industry, 114, 115

  Waste of competition, 31

  Wastefulness, historical, 17-19

    Clam industry, 212, 213
    Oyster industry, 138-143
    Quahaug industry, 74-79
    Scallop industry, 115

  Weymouth, clam industry, 198

    Clam industry, 209, 210
    Oyster industry, 146, 147
    Quahaug industry, 79, 80
    Scallop industry, 115, 116

[Illustration: The above map of the coast line of Massachusetts, with
its numbered sections, furnishes an index to the following series of
shellfish areas.]

[Illustration: The above characters, as used on the following maps,
indicate the position and relative quantities of the various shellfish
in their respective localities. No attempt is made to give the relative
abundance of scallops and oysters, while the present productive value
of the different clam and quahaug areas is indicated by different
standards of marking.]

[Illustration: Map 1.]

[Illustration: Map 2.]

[Illustration: Map 3.]

[Illustration: Map 4.]

[Illustration: Map 5.]

[Illustration: Map 6.]

[Illustration: Map 7.]

[Illustration: Map 8.]

[Illustration: Map 9.]

[Illustration: Map 10.]

[Illustration: Map 11.]

[Illustration: Map 12.]

[Illustration: Map 13.]

[Illustration: Map 14.]

[Illustration: Map 15.]

[Illustration: Map 16.]

[Illustration: Map 17.]

[Illustration: Map 18.]

[Illustration: Map 19.]

[Illustration: Map 20.]

[Illustration: Map 21.]

[Illustration: Map 22.]

[Illustration: Map 23.]

[Illustration: Map 24.]

[Illustration: =The Scallop Pusher.=--This implement consists of a
wooden pole, from 8 to 9 feet long, attached to a rectangular iron
framework, 3 by 1½ feet, fitted with a netting bag, 3 feet in depth.
The scalloper, wading in the shallow water, gathers the scallops from
the flats by shoving the pusher among the eel grass. The photograph
shows the correct position of the pusher in operation. Only a small
part of the pole is shown.]

[Illustration: =The Box Scallop Dredge.=--This dredge consists of a
rectangular framework, 27 by 12 inches, with an oval-shaped iron bar
extending backward as a support for the netting bag, which is attached
to the rectangular frame. To the sides of this frame is joined a heavy
iron chain about 4 feet long, to which the drag rope is fastened. This
style of dredge is used only at Chatham and the neighboring towns of
Cape Cod.]

[Illustration: =Scallop Dredge=,--"=The Scraper.="--This implement
has the form of a triangular iron framework, with a curve of nearly
90° at the base, to form the bowl of the dredge. On the upper side a
raised cross bar connects the two arms, while at the bottom a strip
of iron 2 inches wide extends across the dredge. This narrow strip
acts as a scraping blade, and is set at an angle so as to dig into the
soil. The top of the net is fastened to the cross bar and the lower
part to the blade. The usual dimensions of the dredge are: arms, 2½
feet; upper cross bar, 2 feet; blade, 2½ feet. The net varies in size,
usually running from 2 to 3 feet in length and holding between 1 and
2 bushels. Additional weights can be put on the cross bar when the
scalloper desires the dredge to "scrape" deeper. A wooden bar 2 feet
long buoys the net. The scraper used at Nantucket has the entire net
made of twine, whereas in other localities the lower part consists of
interwoven iron rings.]

[Illustration: =The Oyster Dredge.=--This is the type of oyster dredge
used on the large gasolene boats. The photograph was taken on board the
oyster boat of Mr. James Monahan of Wareham. The dredge consists of a
net of woven iron rings attached to an iron framework. From each corner
of the framework rods extend, converging at a point some feet away,
where the drag rope is attached. The blade, resting horizontally on the
surface, is armed with large teeth which rake the oysters into the bag.
When this bag, which holds from 8 to 15 bushels, is full, the dredge is
raised by a gasolene hoist.]

[Illustration: =The Basket Quahaug Rake.=--This style of basket rake
is used at Edgartown and Nantucket. The whole rake is made of iron,
no netting being required, as thin iron wires 1/3 of an inch apart
encircle lengthwise the entire basket, preventing the escape of any
marketable quahaugs, while at the same time allowing mud and sand to
wash out. This rake has 16 steel teeth, 1½ inches long, fitted at
intervals of 1 inch on the scraping bar. The depth of the basket is
about 8 inches. Short poles not exceeding 30 feet in length are used,
as the raking is carried on in water which does not exceed 25 feet in
depth. Only the iron framework of the rake is shown.]

[Illustration: =The Claw Quahaug Rake.=--This rake varies greatly in
size and length. Its use is chiefly confined to Nantucket. The general
style has a handle 6 feet long, while the iron part, in the form of a
claw or talon, with prongs 1 inch apart, is 10 inches wide. A heavier
rake, as here shown, is sometimes used in the deeper water.]

[Illustration: =The Scallop Rake.=--The use of this rake is confined
almost exclusively to the town of Chatham. Both scallops and quahaugs
can be taken with it. The bowl is formed by a curve of the prongs,
which are held together by two long cross bars at the top and bottom
of the basket, while the ends are enclosed by short strips of iron.
Handles from 15 to 20 feet long are generally used with this rake.]

[Illustration: =Rowley Reef Clam Set.=--This photograph shows the
surface of Rowley Reef, one of the flats of Plum Island Sound. In the
summer of 1906 a heavy set of clams was found on this flat, averaging
1,500 to the square foot of surface. These rapidly diminished, and one
year later, Aug. 27, 1907, when this photograph was taken, the clams
numbered about 400 to the square foot. This area furnished an excellent
illustration of the great destruction of natural clam set. Only 5 per
cent. of these clams reached maturity, and the remaining 95 per cent.,
destroyed by natural agencies, could have been saved if proper measures
had been taken. At least 100 acres of the barren flats of Rowley could
have been planted with the "seed" from this flat, and after two years
the crop would have been worth $30,000. The present shellfish laws of
the Commonwealth are alone to blame for this waste. The clam hoe shown
in the foreground is the typical digger or "hooker" of the North Shore

[Illustration: =Rowley Reef.=--This photograph, taken on the same date
as the preceding, shows another section of the reef, where the clam set
has been torn up and destroyed by horse-shoe crabs and cockles.]

[Illustration: =Rowley Reef.=--A photograph, natural size, of a thickly
set part of the same flat. The broken shells on top show clams which
have been crowded out of the sand and destroyed. In this way nature
regulates the number of clams in a given area.]

[Illustration: =Castle Neck Flat= (=Essex River=).--A scene at low
tide, Aug. 28, 1907, showing the area turned over by two clammers in
one hour. At this date there was a heavy set of small clams on this

[Illustration: =Plymouth Harbor.=--This photograph was taken at low
tide, from the boat house of Mr. Frank Cole. In the foreground are a
few of the experimental clam beds of the Massachusetts department of
fisheries and game. Note the large tracts of eel grass covering the

[Illustration: =Cole's Clam Grant.=--This photograph shows a portion
of the grant leased to Mr. Frank Cole by the town of Kingston for
the propagation of clams. Several of the experimental beds of the
Massachusetts department of fisheries and game were situated on this

[Illustration: =Clam Spat Box.=--This box was suspended from a raft
during the summer of 1907. The small clams which were caught in it are
heaped before the box. These clams vary in size from ½ to 2 inches in
length, showing that the spawning season is at least of two months'
duration. The spat box was put down May 15 and taken up October 15.
Note the barnacles, silver shells (_Anomia_), etc., on the box and

[Illustration: =A Clam Shanty.=--The shanty of Samuel Kilbourn, an
experienced Ipswich clammer. The large heap of shells is the result of
six weeks of steady digging. Numerous shanties of this sort are used
for "shucking out" clams when marketed by the gallon. This photograph
also shows the clam sifter which was used in obtaining the small "seed"
clams from Rowley Reef for the experimental beds.]

[Illustration: =Taking up One of the Clam Gardens of the Massachusetts
Department of Fisheries and Game.=--The bed was planted Nov. 15, 1905,
in Essex River, on a sand flat locally known as "Newfoundland." When
the bed was planted the flat was considered barren, as it produced
practically no clams. The photograph was obtained Nov. 15, 1907, when
the bed was taken up, and shows the clammers at work. Note the heaps of
marketable clams which were taken from the bed.]

[Illustration: =Yield in Two Years of the Garden shown in the Preceding
Photograph.=--Note the amount of clams planted, compared with the
marketable clams taken out. The size of the bed was 1/100 of an acre.
The clams had increased in size so that 8 quarts were obtained for
every quart planted. This shows what could be done with many barren
flats if individuals had the privilege of cultivating clam farms.]

[Illustration: =The Winkle or Cockle= (=Lunatia heros and
duplicata=).--An enemy of the clam, which it destroys by boring a hole
through the shell and sucking out the contents.]

[Illustration: =Clam Growth.=--This photograph gives a comparison
between the growth of small and large clams from a single bed under the
same natural conditions. The large clam shows a much slower growth than
the small. Both clams were notched when planted on the "Spit" in Essex
River, April 18, 1907. They were dug Aug. 28, 1907.]

[Illustration: =Soft-shelled Clam= (=Mya arenaria=).--This large
clam shell, measuring 5¾ inches in length, was found on Grey's Flat,
Kingston. Where the flat has been worn away by erosion the ground is
white with thousands of these shells in an upright position in the
soil, showing that sudden destruction had overtaken them at some time
in the past.]

[Illustration: =Quahaugs from an Experimental Bed at Monomoy Point,
showing Two Years' Growth.=--The two notches or file marks on the
shells indicate the growth per year. The photograph is two-thirds life
size. These quahaugs have shown rapid growth, having gained nearly 1
inch a year in length, which is the best growth thus far found in any
of the experimental beds.]

[Illustration: =Gathering "Seed" Oysters in the Weweantit River,
Wareham, May 6, 1908.=--The natural beds of the town of Wareham had
been closed for seven years, and on this date were opened for the
period of one week for the inhabitants of the town to gather "seed"
oysters, the photograph was taken on the opening day, and shows the
oystermen at work tonging the "seed" oysters. In the foreground is a
loaded skiff, ready to have its contents estimated by the inspector,
who declares the number of bushels. The tongers pay the town 10 cents
per bushel for the privilege of gathering the oysters, and sell them
for 35 cents per bushel to the planters, thus realizing a profit of 25

[Illustration: =Typical Steam Dredger.=--The oyster boat of Mr. James
Monahan of Wareham, showing oyster dredge and hoist. The large cans
aboard the boat contain young flatfish from the Woods Hole Hatchery of
the United States Fish Commission. Mr. Monahan is distributing these in
Wareham river.]

[Illustration: =Typical Oyster Schooner.=--Oyster schooner loaded with
1,935 bushels of Wareham "seed" for L. Dodge, Providence River. This
"seed" was taken in May, 1908, from the natural oyster bed in the
Agawam River, which had been closed for the past three years.]

    Transcriber's Notes:

    Simple spelling, grammar, and typographical errors were
    silently corrected.

    Anachronistic and non-standard spellings retained as printed.

    P. 92 added "(All values expressed as per cent.)" in lieu of
    repeating per-cent. comment in every column header.

    Italics markup is enclosed in _underscores_.

    Bold markup is enclosed in =equals=.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Report upon the Mollusk Fisheries of Massachusetts" ***

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