Project Title: Examination of “Fisheries Harvest Using Bottom Disturbing Gear and Techniques on Submerged Lands – Justification for a Finding of Appropriateness of a Refuge Use, Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge”
Client: Town of Chatham, Massachusetts
The Town of Chatham requested CFF to review the impact of mussel harvesting in the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge and develop a report of their findings. This report provides a science-based review and assessment of statements contained in the Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan/Environmental Impact Assessment (CCP/EIS), and the literature cited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), justifying the ban on traditional fishing practices using bottom disturbing gear as well as mussel harvesting. However, after reviewing the scientific information provided by the FWS to justify its conclusions, the Town asserts that the supporting documentation used by the FWS is outdated, insufficient, and, in some instances, uses inappropriate comparisons between fishing gear types and areas fished. Overall, this review reveals there is insufficient scientific evidence to conclude that a complete ban on mussel harvesting and bottom disturbing fishing gear and practices within the CCP/EIS will create the benthic habitat protections the FWS desires.