State Forms Shellfish Initiative (MSI) Task Force

From the Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman's Alliance:

The Secretary of Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Matthew Beaton is partnering with shellfish stakeholders to establish a Massachusetts Shellfish Initiative (MSI) Task Force.  The Task Force had its first meeting January 2, and included representatives of commercial shellfishermen, shellfish farmers, recreational harvesters, restoration groups, and municipalities, as well as legislative and executive office members, in an effort to provide comprehensive stakeholder participation.  Members are tasked with engaging stakeholders and developing a comprehensive, coast-wide, holistic strategic plan for nearshore state and municipally managed shellfish resources.

For Massachusetts, the MSI is a first-of-its-kind partnership that brings together the Commonwealth's major shellfish sectors (aquaculture, wild harvest, and restoration), with a mission to maximize the economic, environmental, and social benefits of the Bay State's shellfish resources.

Secretary Beaton's leadership role in the MSI Task Force reflects the Commonwealth's commitment to the stakeholders who rely upon Massachusetts' vast coastal shellfish resources. 

Near shore shellfish resources support robust recreational fisheries in our coastal communities and directly generate more than $45 million annually from commercial wild harvest and aquaculture production. Considering a nearly 2:1 economic multiplier, they contribute a more than $90 million impact to the Commonwealth's economy.  Shellfish also provide significant environmental benefits and contribute to the health of coastal ecosystems.  Interest in and development of all aspects of shellfish have been on the rise in recent years driving the need for a comprehensive statewide plan that will support continued responsible growth, while improving communication among stakeholders and leveraging ongoing state and municipal efforts.

The MSI Task Force includes a broad range of representatives; a full appointee list is included below.


Matthew Beaton, Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Co-Chair

Matt Charette, Director, Woods Hole Sea Grant Program, Co-Chair

Lt. Col. Anthony Adbdal-Khabir, Director, Environmental Law Enforcement

Paul Bagnall, President, Mass. Shellfish Officers Association

Monica Bharel, Commissioner, Dept. of Public Health

Deirdre Buckley, Director, Mass. Environmental Policy Act Office

Senator Vinny deMacedo

Lisa Engler, Director, Coastal Zone Management

Jill Goldsmith, Town Manager Chatham

Les Hemmila, President, Massachusetts Aquaculture Association

Wayne Klockner, Mass. State Director, The Nature Conservancy

John Lebeaux, Commissioner, Dept. of Agricultural Resources

John Mitchell, Mayor New Bedford

John Pappalardo, CEO, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance

Representative Sarah Peake

David Pierce, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries

Rene Read, Town Manager Duxbury

Sefatia Romeo Theken, Mayor Gloucester

Martin Suuberg, Commissioner, Dept. of Environmental Protection


For more information on MSI, visit: .

Relevant quotes:

"The Baker-Polito Administration recognizes the importance of a vibrant maritime economy and its impact on the Commonwealth, and remains committed to working with the aquaculture industry. Through the work of the Massachusetts Shellfish Initiative, the Commonwealth will continue to actively participate in extensive stakeholder engagement and collaboration in an effort to strengthen the state's shellfish industry while protecting critical marine resources and habitat."

-- Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton


"I see the MSI Task Force as a great opportunity to work cooperatively to strengthen the sustainability of our Commonwealth's shellfish resources and growing shellfish industry.   My staff and I look forward to working with fellow Task Force members to support the continued development of an ecologically sustainable shellfish aquaculture industry, protect and enhance opportunities for wild shellfish harvest, and promote and strengthen state and municipal shellfisheries management in the Commonwealth."

-- David Pierce Ph.D., Director, Division of Marine Fisheries.


"Wild shellfish harvest is a critical part of most fishermen's year, allowing them to diversify their business and still make a day's pay when they can't fish offshore.  We believe that the MSI process will bring the different user groups together to ensure a sustainable shellfish future for all, and their combined voices will leverage political and public support for overarching issues, like improving water quality."

--John Pappalardo, CEO, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance


"This is a great opportunity to ensure that we support the past two decades of robust growth in the Commonwealth's farmed shellfish industry with a sound foundation and chart a deliberate, responsible path for future expansion of this valuable resource."

-- Chris Sherman, past president, Massachusetts Aquaculture Association


"Shellfish play a critical role in coastal ecosystem health through filtering water and providing habitat for other species, while also having economic and cultural significance for the residents of the Commonwealth.  We are excited to participate in the MSI and confident that the stakeholder driven process will ensure that the benefits of Massachusetts' shellfish resources will be realized by people and nature."

--Wayne Klockner, State Director, The Nature Conservancy.

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