March 10, 2021

Warren, Markey Release Statement on Town of Chatham and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Agreement on Nantucket Sound Shellfish Fisheries

Washington, D.C. – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following joint statement after the Chatham Select Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) yesterday between the Town of Chatham and the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). The agreement will continue the Town’s management of the shellfish fisheries in the submerged lands and waters in Nantucket Sound at the western boundary of the Refuge.

“We are pleased that the Town of Chatham and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have reached this agreement regarding the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. This Memorandum of Understanding maintains Chatham’s historic management of the vital shellfish fisheries off its coast, while also continuing to protect the resources and wildlife within this vibrant ecosystem. These dual priorities form a balanced foundation for continued cooperation between the Town and Refuge, now and in the future. We look forward to continuing to partner with both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Town of Chatham,” the lawmakers said.

In April 2014, a controversial Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan was released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Town of Chatham and the Massachusetts Attorney General submitted official comments regarding the submerged lands and waters of Nantucket Sound in disagreement. In January 2015, Senators Warren and Markey, and Congressman Bill Keating (D-Mass.) submitted a letter to Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe regarding the Monomoy boundary issue, and asking for full engagement with Chatham in finalizing the Comprehensive Conservation Plan. While some issues regarding the eastern boundary were resolved, the dispute on the management of the western boundary remained. In 2019, Senator Markey received a commitment from Trump administration nominees to work with the delegation and with the Town of Chatham on this issue during a hearing of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works.