Report of the
Natural Resources Department 1977


The winter winter of 1916-1977 was extremely costly to the Town. Marine related Ice damage affected shellfish stocks as well as docks and floats. Salt ice in the harbors was so thick that automobiles were driven around on Allen harbor. Heartier shelifishermen chopped holes through the ice on Pleasant Bay in pursuit of littlenecks.


Oysters and blue-clawed crabs were noticably missing this year having been destroyed by the most severe winter of the decade. Quahog populations also took a severe beating from anchor frost. Commercial landings of this species no­ticeably declined from 1976. Dead paired quahog shells were a common sight this spring for family permit holders scratch­ing in the harbors.


1700 bushels of quahogs were landed by commercial shell fishermen at a market value of 65/lbs. This represents $88,400 In shellfish landed. An estimated 300 bucheis of oyc ters were landed commercially at a market value of $151/hush ci making a total of $4,500.

Softshell clams were in abundance again this spring. The scallop season was extremely poor again this year.


Ice damage to the Town harbor facilities included 35 pil­ings pulled out by ice and tide. 15 floats at Saquatucket were badly damaged by pack ice and Allen harbor Town floats were critically damaged.


Repair costs for winter Ice damage was $14,576. Because of an insurance policy which had recently been acquired for the Town docks, thanks to the work of our selectmen, we received $13,298 in reimbursement.


Dredging work was done again this year at the entrance to Allen harbor as a temporary effort to keep this channel open for the season. The full channel project has been given high priority by the Army Corp of Engineers for dredging In 1978. Wychmere harbor entrance channel is once again in serious shape with a large sandbar at the north end of Thomp­son's Clambar dock. This will require dredging in spring 1978. Herring river entrance is non-negotiable except at high tide.


With increasing commercial fishing interests In the Town of Harwich, including three fish markets transporting fish to the Boston and New York exchanges, the Selectmen and Waterways committee aired several ideas for harbor develop­ment. These ideas included proposals for utilizing the upper marsh at Allen harbor; the outer harbor at Wychmere; deep hole at Red River; and the marsh north of route 28 at Squa­tucket harbor. The Federal Coastal Zone Management office was notified and some serious interest has been shown by that office in helping us develop one of these areas.


Once again slip rental totals broke the previous season record This has been due to both increased recreational and commercial activity. After eight years of business we feel that Saquatucket harbor and Harwich has made a reputable name for itself as a good port with easy access, and a fun place to visit. This undoubtedly helps local business climate not only for marine related services, but restaurants, motels, grocery stores and other businesses as well.




                                                                                                            Saquatucket harbor      $73,290.92

                                                                                                            Wychmere harbor              5,663.00

                                                                                                            Allen harbor                      4,157.60


                                                                                                            Total                            $83,111.52


340 bushels of Quahogs were transplanted from Cape Cod Bay to Allen harbor, Wychmere harbor, and Herring river prior to spawning season. We hesitated to fall transplant oysters as done in previous years for fear of another cold winter.





                                                                                                Family resident                         722                  $1,444

                                                                                                Non-resident                              39                       585

                                                                                                Commercial                                83                       830

                                                                                                Senior Citizen                           176                           0


                                                                                                TOTAL                                  1020                  $2,859


The statistics were compiled from our 1977 log­book:


Rescues and tows


Boats pumped out


Boats loose from moorings


Missing boats reported


Boats stolen


Found and recovered boats


Channel markers and regulatory buoys in service


Reported fires on board


Lighted aids to navigation maintained


Suspended Shellfish permits


Shellfish violation written warning


Motorboat violation warnings


Mooring permits Wychmere harbor


Mooring permits Allen harbor


Mooring permits Herring River


Mooring permits Round Cove


Mooring permits at Pleasant Bay


Regulatory signs maintained





We attended many public meetings this year. Most importantly was our representation at Coastal Zone Manage­ment. Other meetings attended included: Massachusetts Har­bormasters Association; Massachusetts Shellfish Officers As­sociation; CCPEDC Shellfish Advisory committee; several seminars on Ice damage in Small Harbors, and Shellfish raft culture. We attended both Board of Appeals meetings and Conservation Commission hearings which we felt would have an adverse effect on the environment.


Respectfully submitted,




Natural Resources Officer Harbormaster


DONALD F. RYDER, Assistant