A town shellfish permit is required for the catch or removal of any shellfish in both Edgartown and Oak Bluffs . Permits can be obtained at the town halls. Consult your permit for seasonal, size and quantity limitations.
Sengekontacket Pond has moderately good recreational and commercial shell fishing. Although a variety of shellfish can be found in the Pond, the most popular varieties are:
•Quahogs (Hard Shell Clams) Quahogs are found buried in the sand or mud 1 - 2 inches below the surface. They are usually harvested by rakes. Some of the common terms to describe sizes are:
◦“Littlenecks” up to 2 inches in length.
◦“Cherrystones” 2 to 3 inches in length
◦“Chowders” larger than 3 inches
•Steamers (Soft Shell Clams) Steamers live about 6 inches below the surface, usually in the intertidal zone. They are most commonly harvested by hand, rake or shovel. Commercial shell fishermen sometimes use an air pump.
•Oysters There are some oysters in the pond as a result of seeding. They rest on the bottom surface and are harvested by net or rake. Martha’s Vineyard has become a nationally recognized source of farm oysters.
•Bay Scallops may only be harvested between October 1 and March 31. A Bay Scallop must live through two summers to reach maturity before being harvested. Most scallops live in eelgrass beds. The Pond has been suffering from a lack of eelgrass and the scallop harvest has been poor in recent years.
•Blue Claw Crabs are found in creeks and ponds although they can be scarce at times due to natural cycles.
•Mussels Blue Mussels attach themselves to rocks or bridge pilings, while Ribbed Mussels are found along marshes and creeks. For eating, most people prefer the Blue Mussel which has a smooth, dark blue or black shell.