Eastham resident Scott Nolan began fishing for sea clams 30 years ago. He fishes on an 80-foot vessel named the Goody Hallet along with his son, Max, 26. Provincetown is their home port, but they’ve been fishing out of New Bedford for the past few months because the company they sell their clams to can unload them on the spot.
“It used to be a bigger fishery,” Scott says of sea clamming. “There used to be 100 to 150 boats fishing for them at one time and then after they went to this quota system in the early 90s, the boats started disappearing because of what they call consolidation, where these big companies ended up owning most of the quota and all of the small independent guys got out of the business. Now it’s down to around 50 boats fishing for sea clams in federal water.”
Scott is able to fish for sea clams because he leases quota from the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust program of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. In 2012, the Trust bought 31,136 bushels of surf clam quota to enable this historic fishery to continue on Cape Cod. Scott and Max currently fish on Nantucket Shoals. Their method of fishing is fairly straightforward.
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