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Longtime Dennis hatchery under new ownership  

The transfer of the ARC property, which spans 39 acres, was a two-step process. The first step, taken in June, involved securing a $3 million preservation restriction from Kraus, Machie and Hart. The restriction ensured protection of 29 acres of marsh, dune and beach, and limited the final 10 acres to aquaculture, research and education. Money came from the towns of Dennis and Yarmouth, Barnstable County and a handful of conservation groups.

The restriction removes the possibility that a wind turbine will be placed on the property. A proposal to erect one as a way to defray the hatchery’s utility costs met with repeated court challenges from neighbors.

Credit:  By Christine Legere | Cape Cod Times | Aug 19, 2015 | www.capecodtimes.com ~~

DENNIS – A shellfish hatchery that has operated at the mouth of Chase Garden Creek for more than 50 years changed ownership Monday, and by Tuesday work was already well underway to empty old equipment out of the ramshackle hatchery building so it can be replaced in coming months with a new facility.

Aquacultural Research Corp. is now owned by a group of investors who, in many cases, have a stake in the fishing industry. The list includes the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, Wellfleet Shellfish Promotion and Tasting (known as Wellfleet SPAT) and a consortium of Cape Cod families interested in protecting an industry mainstay.

The $3 million the group put together – $1.5 million in investment funds and $1.5 million in loans – will be used to build and equip the new hatchery and get the business up and running.

The three longtime owners – Richard Kraus, Susan Machie and Gail Hart – will maintain an 8 percent share in the new operation and the investor group will hold the remaining 92 percent.

The old hatchery’s final season, during which 100 million shellfish seeds were sold, ended just a week ago.

“Demolition should begin in early September,” ARC’s Chief Executive Officer Rob Doane said. “The new hatchery will be finished by the end of February, just in time for the 2016 season.”

The company will be run by Doane and a board of directors made up of business investors and representatives from the fishermen’s alliance and Wellfleet SPAT. Kraus, who will guide the new venture with his years of experience, also will serve on that board, Doane said.

The fishermen’s alliance was instrumental in assembling the investment team. “When I first heard the current owners were looking to retire or shut down, I started talking to the shellfishermen around the Cape to see what the significance of that was to them,” alliance CEO John Pappalardo said. “I didn’t know over 1,000 people on the Cape relied on the hatchery.”

Pappalardo said he believed the alliance had an obligation to help the hatchery business survive.

“Shellfish to me means jobs, food and good for the economy,” he said. “It seems to be compatible with the Cape.”

The shellfish industry is a financial mainstay for the town of Wellfleet, according to Michele Insley, executive director of Wellfleet SPAT. The town has about 260 acres dedicated to aquaculture, which supports about 200 jobs.

Wellfleet SPAT organizes the Wellfleet OysterFest each year to raise money for the aquaculture industry. “ARC is the kind of business we like to support,” Insley said. “It’s been estimated that ARC supplies 80 percent of the Cape seed.”

Insley noted shellfishing is a centuries-old tradition on Cape Cod. “It provides jobs, improves water quality and provides a sustainable food source.”

The transfer of the ARC property, which spans 39 acres, was a two-step process. The first step, taken in June, involved securing a $3 million preservation restriction from Kraus, Machie and Hart. The restriction ensured protection of 29 acres of marsh, dune and beach, and limited the final 10 acres to aquaculture, research and education. Money came from the towns of Dennis and Yarmouth, Barnstable County and a handful of conservation groups.

The restriction removes the possibility that a wind turbine will be placed on the property. A proposal to erect one as a way to defray the hatchery’s utility costs met with repeated court challenges from neighbors.

Once the preservation restriction was in place, ARC turned over ownership of the 29 open acres to the town of Dennis.

State Sen. Daniel Wolf, D-Harwich, was instrumental in securing $1.6 million in state funding toward the preservation purchase.

“I think we were able to get the money because the whole region was behind it,” Wolf said. “This is an amazing collaborative effort. It has preserved a beautiful spot on Cape Cod for generations to come.”

Jonathan Fleming, a longtime venture capitalist in the biotech business and a Mashpee homeowner, will serve as chairman of ARC’s board of directors.

Fleming said he has been a longtime supporter of the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts. The compact’s executive director, Mark Robinson, had asked him to help structure an arrangement that would preserve the land, preserve the hatchery and allow for some compensation for the longtime owners, Fleming said.

“Because of the people I got to work with, it turned out to be a labor of love,” he said.

[rest of article available at source]

Source:  By Christine Legere | Cape Cod Times | Aug 19, 2015 | www.capecodtimes.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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