Board of Selectmen approves shellfish hatchery

Apr 16, 2019

The Board of Selectmen approved Daniel Ward of Ward Aquafarms’ application for a Shellfish Grant, which enables him to continue his oyster nursery system operation in Wareham Marina at 73 Leonard St.

Ward recently purchased the marina, but will only operate his oyster hatchery in part of it. He said that this year, there will only be one fewer slip available for a boat.

Ward has been operating a hatching farm in Falmouth since the summer of 2012, and currently commercially grows oysters, bay scallops, quahogs, and sugar kelp. Ward is not a Wareham resident and the state required him to obtain Selectmen’s permission to continue his work.

Ward specializes in the first steps of aquaculture. He fertilizes and grows oysters until they are about an inch long before selling them to other farms who grow them to full size for human consumption.

"The first step happens inside a building where you take the mom oysters and the dad oysters and make the larvae that swims in the tank. That’s the first step and it lasts about four weeks,” said Ward, describing the hatching process at the farm. “Then you take the tiny oysters and grow them to an inch or so and that's what would happen in the slip.”

Ward assured the Selectmen that the hatching process is not visible to the public, and the outdoor component of the farm looks just like a swim platform when the doors to the upwellers, where the oysters grow, are closed.

“Typically when people think about agriculture, they think about a lot of visible gears. This is very much unlike it,” said Ward. “It is not going to have any of that gear, no bags, no cages, no floating anything. And everything that will be happening hatching-wise is inside that building.”