The Westport Fishermen’s Association’s 34th annual clambake was held under warm and sunny skies on Sept. 17 for over 175 happy guests. After everyone enjoyed their clambake with all the fixings, we moved on announcing the pick-a- prize raffle winners, culminating in awarding of the grand prize 18′ handcrafted Night Heron Kayak to Ishan Gurdal of Cambridge and Westport. Happy paddling!
Members always get their newsletter in the mail. For everyone one else, plus those who prefer to consume their news online, the latest issue of the WFA quarterly newsletter is now posted online. Happy summer reading!
It is never too early to reserve your clambake tickets for the WFA’s 34th annual traditional bake on Sept. 17, 2017. Lobster and double lobster options available! For details and to order online click here.
The Westport Summer Passport 2017 is an adventure that will take you to six of the most beautiful and interesting local spots. It is a free self-guided family-friendly activity that runs through July and August. All walks are less than 1.5 miles and cover flat ground or short moderate or steep inclines. You will visit:
- Brookside Conservation Area, 1013 American Legion Highway (north Westport)
- Forge Pond Conservation Area, 214 Forge Rd. (north Westport)
- Handy House, 202 Hix Bridge Rd. (central Westport)
- Horseneck Point Lifesaving Station, 214 East Beach Rd. (south Westport)
- Mill Pond Conservation Area, 62 Reed Rd. (Head of Westport)
- Noquochoke Conservation Area, 421 Pine Hill Rd. (central Westport)
Westport Summer Passport is a partnership of the Westport Historical Society, The Westport Land Conservation Trust, the Westport Fishermen’s Association, and the Westport Education Foundation.
To download the passport go to http://westportlandtrust.org/westport_summer_passport/
Visit Horseneck Point Lifesaving Station this summer to view our latest exhibit: Notorious Shipwrecks off Westport! The opening reception is on Saturday, June 24th at 2 pm.
Exhibit hours are Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 12 to 4 pm from June 24th through Sept. 3rd. Free admission. Donations are always welcome. The exhibit is supported by in part by the Chip Gillespie Memorial Fund and by a grant from the Westport Cultural Council.
The entrance to Buzzards Bay is littered with shipwrecks, though it is impossible be certain of how many ships have been lost in this area of shoals and reefs, dense fog, and strong tides. Locally, most vessels went aground on Hen and Chickens Reef at the southern end of Gooseberry Island. Although nowadays there are fewer wrecks due to improvements in navigation, these waters still hold many stories.
Artifacts and the stories about the fate of three large ships, all over 300 feet long, that went aground nearby – the USS Yankee (1908) pictured above, the HMCS St. Francis (1945) and the Angela (1971) – are on display.
Despite the intermittent rain, we had a great turnout at the WFA’s 13th annual “Run for the Water” with over 140 participants coming from ten states. In fact, a woman flew in from Michigan the night before to compete specifically in the 10K. She is doing a race in all 50 states this year and picked the WFA’s event because it supported a good cause. Proceeds from this year’s event will help fund the WFA’s scholarship program and support our advocacy efforts.
This year we swapped out the 8K course for a 10K distance and Matt Moussamih from Swansea won it in 40:22. Lauren Galiardi of Cumberland, RI was the women’s winner, coming in at 46:59. Top finishers in the 5K Fun Run were Dan Murphy of Westport and Katie Knapp from Brooklyn, NY. Complete results can be found HERE.
In 2016 the Westport Fishermen’s Association sounded the alarm about rapid degradation of salt marsh islands, particularly those in the West Branch of the Westport River. Salt marsh islands are a characteristic feature of both branches of the Westport Rivers. These productive coastal wetlands are important because they protect properties from storm surges, remove nutrients from the water and carbon from the atmosphere, and provide critical habitat for fish, shellfish, and shorebirds. In response, we teamed up with the Buzzards Bay Coalition, the Marine Biological Laboratory Ecosystems Center, and the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program to measure the rate of salt marsh loss and try to identify the causes.
The data are in and the news is not good at all. The Westport River is losing salt marsh islands at an accelerating rate and they are projected to entirely disappear within 60 years if nothing is done. Read the summary report here: Saltmarsh_loss_report_FINAL
Additional detail is in the full report: Westport Marsh Final Report_Mar2017
The Westport Fishermen’s Association is hosting their 13th Annual Run for the Water on May 6, 2017. We are featuring a new 10K course length this year, with cash awards and medals for top male and female finishers. The 5K Family Fun Run/Walk returns, with fun prizes for top individuals, families and teams. Free t-shirt for all pre-registered entrants. Post race feast too!
You are invited to this year’s Oyster Stew Supper and Annual Meeting on February 14, 2017. Celebrate Valentine’s Day and take the chill off the winter by joining us for a delicious dinner at St. John the Baptist Church, 945 Main Road, Westport MA. Doors open at 6:00 pm, stew is served at 6:30 and the Annual Meeting follows immediately after the dinner.
The evening’s feature presentation will be a screening of “The Last Bay Scallop?” by Nantucket filmmaker John Stanton. Westport’s scallop harvests have already been decimated. Now, the waters around Nantucket that host the last commercially viable bay scallop fishery on the East Coast may also face the same fate due to loss of the scallops’ eel grass habitat, Harbor pollution, particularly excess nitrogen that fosters algae overgrowth, is the main culprit. See how fishermen and scientists alike are fighting to protect this island’s cultural and economic staple and what lessons Westport can learn from them.
Be sure to check out the Winter 2017 newsletter, which features a report on the results of this summer’s salt marsh study. The six marsh sites that were evaluated show an alarming 46% decline in total area since 1934.
Advocacy updates, the latest new catch and photos from the clambake and boat show are also featured, along with columns from Cap’n Cukie and WFA President Jack Reynolds.