Winter Sunday shellfish digging wins approval
BRUNSWICK — Brunswick’s clam flats are now open on Sundays.
On Tuesday night, the Town Council gave unanimous approval to an emergency amendment of the town’s shellfish regulations that now will allow shellfish harvesting on Sundays during the winter months.
Marine Resources Officer Dan Devereaux said that the amendment came as a compromise between clammers who were looking for more hours on the flats and summer residents who raised past opposition to summertime Sunday digging.
“We have the inventory, based on the inventory surveys that we did,” Devereaux said. “ We ask at least during the winter time to do this, which is the least controversial time of the year for residents.”
Devereaux told The Times Record on Friday that a previous attempt at opening flats during the summer of 2007 spurred summer residents along the coast to begin to complain about the digging.
Devereaux told The Times Record that opening the flats to clamming on Sundays from Oct. 16 to April 30 will give shellfish harvesters more time on the flats, which he said can be critical during short winter days.
Devereaux estimated that opening flats on Sundays would give harvesters an added four hours per week to dig.
“And that can be a few hundred bucks,” Devereaux said.
Devereaux said that the item came to the council for emergency approval because of a medical issue that kept him from bringing the item to the council’s agenda in September.
As an emergency item, the amendment went into immediate effect. Without emergency approval, Town Manager Gary Brown said, the change would have taken a minimum of 45 days to enact.
The council also approved holding a public hearing for the shellfish ordinance amendment on Feb. 6 to hear feedback from residents about the decision that was approved on an emergency basis.
The council’s Feb. 6 meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the Town Council chambers at Brunswick Station.