An equipment barge is being dismantled, and work to reduce the scope of an oyster aquaculture project operated by the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) on Menemsha Pond is nearly complete, according to Wampanoag planner Durwood Vanderhoop.

“The field is pretty much in order,” said Mr. Vanderhoop. A survey of the area on Monday showed floating oyster bags anchored in neat rows, and the beach clear of any abandoned bags or gear.

Mechanical equipment has been removed from a large wooden scow, according to Mr. Vanderhoop. A contractor is working to dismantle the rest of the vessel.

Mr. Vanderhoop said oysters are growing and the Tribe’s intent is to begin marketing the shellfish again. The project was essentially abandoned in 2007, when the Tribe ran out of money needed to sustain the aquaculture operation.

The oyster project has been the subject of numerous complaints over the past seven years because of loose gear washing up on area beaches. The issue came to a head earlier this year when the Aquinnah board of selectmen refused to renew the Tribe’s lease on the pond.

The lease issue remains unresolved. At their May 19 meeting, selectmen extended for 30 days a deadline for resolution of the complaints. The board has not addressed the lease issue since, according to selectman Jim Newman.

with permission, MV Times