$23,000 Awarded to Wellfleet Shellfishermen
(Wellfleet, MA…December 23, 2016) Wellfleet SPAT, Shellfish Promotion and Tasting, Inc. awarded $23,000 in relief funding to shellfishermen this week in response to losses they suffered due to a closure of Wellfleet harbor this past fall. Shellfishermen were out of work for 32 days after the state shut down local shellfish beds as a precautionary measure due to a norovirus outbreak.
SPAT and the community came together to start a Shellfishermen Relief Fund at this year’s OysterFest. More than $8,000 was collected for this fund since the ‘Fest. The SPAT board first voted to add $9,500 to the fund to make more substantial relief available. When applications came in, it was clear that more resources were necessary, so SPAT increased its contribution to nearly $15,000. $23,000 was distributed among 23 shellfishermen to provide relief for essential expenses such as rent, utilities and food before the holidays.
In addition to this financial support, SPAT has undertaken a public relations campaign to promote Wellfleet oysters and clams and increase shellfish sales during the holiday season. Some of the ways SPAT is promoting Wellfleet shellfish include:
- A Facebook ad campaign
- Cross-promotion on other social media channels such as Instagram and Twitter
- A blog post sent to more than 35,000 shellfish lovers through a partnership with Island Creek Oyster company
- Events at six Whole Foods Market locations in the Greater Boston area
SPAT is committed to fulfilling its mission of supporting Wellfleet’s shellfishing industry and plans to continue these promotional efforts in 2017. SPAT will also hold listening sessions with shellfishermen and put out a survey to solicit big picture ideas of ways the organization can help ensure a sustainable, healthy shellfishery for Wellfleet’s future and provide ongoing support in a way that benefits all shellfishermen and our harbor.
SPAT – Protecting & Sustaining Our Shellfish Industry
Wash-Ashore Oyster Ranch Photo credit: Andrew Cummings
Wellfleet SPAT, Shellfish Promotion and Tasting, Inc. is a nonprofit organization devoted to sustaining Wellfleet’s shellfishing and aquaculture industries. Even the name honors the oyster as the acronym SPAT is also the name for a newly attached baby oyster. SPAT produces the annual Wellfleet OysterFest®, the organization’s primary fundraiser. Proceeds from the ‘Fest support the organization’s educational mission which includes a college scholarship program, community grant awards and initiatives to help the shellfishing industry. To date, SPAT has reinvested more than $403,000 in the local community. Some highlights are:
- A $125,000 investment in the Aquacultural Research Corporation, a local seed hatchery and research facility, in order to ensure a healthy source of shellfish seed for the future
- A contribution of $60,000 toward a loan program for Wellfleet shellfishermen in collaboration with the Community Development Partnership
- $15,000 toward the Town of Wellfleet’s benthic mapping study of the harbor