Moriches Bay Project Expands Shellfish Seeding Effort To Quogue

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Quogue has some new shellfish on the menu, though these recent arrivals are not destined to be opened and served on a chilled platter—at least not immediately.

On Saturday afternoon, organizers behind the Moriches Bay Project—an initiative that seeks to filter local bays through the introduction of new shellfish—dumped 100,000 baby clams inside a newly installed floating upweller system at the Quogue Village Dock in Quantuck Bay.

The system, called FLUPSY, includes a 6-foot-by-24-inch floating dock that is tied to the larger village dock. The floating dock has cages tied beneath it, and a pump to provide the young shellfish with both oxygen and food, helping them to grow at a faster rate than if left on their own.

Once the clams grow to full size, which typically takes two years to occur, they will be released into the bay so they can continue to filter the water. A single adult clam can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day, explained Laura Fabrizio, a co-founder of the Moriches Bay Project, who lives in the Village of West Hampton Dunes.

Aram Terchunian, a sponsor of the Moriches Bay Project and owner of the First Coastal Corporation in Westhampton Beach, added that the FLUPSY should help the shellfish grow twice as fast as they would in their natural habitat, meaning they could be released into the wild in about a year. By October, he expects the gravel-size shellfish to be between the size of a dime and a quarter.

“You don’t notice it’s there,” Mr. Terchunian said of the new floating dock. “But those [clams] are working 24/7.”

Ms. Fabrizio hosted a small gathering on Saturday afternoon attended by Quogue Mayor Peter Sartorius, some of the village trustees and officials from the Quogue Library to celebrate the first FLUPSY installed in the village. The system cost about $9,500 and was funded by New York Sea Grant.

“It’s been a venture,” said Ms. Fabrizio, whose group also boasts four oyster farms—two in West Hampton Dunes, one in Westhampton Beach and another in Center Moriches. “And it’s our first venture in Quogue, so we wanted to make it into an event.”

Pointing to the greenish-brown color of the water in Quantuck Bay, Ms. Fabrizio said she is glad the shellfish are being placed there so they can help remove some of the pollutants in the water. By the end of this week, she added, the Quogue system will be home to an estimated 500,000 baby clams.

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