Fish House Redemption is a story of exemplary environmental stewardship. This early 1900s commercial fish house located in Harwich, MA took the owner, Fran Zarette, years to permit for reconstruction. Fran persisted and prevailed. Now, the building is leased out to A.R.C. Hatchery, a leading local aquaculture company supplying the majority of Cape Cod shell fishermen with high-quality seed.
Fran Zarette originally bought the fish house with an intent to demolish it and rebuild it as a new aquaculture facility, but his proposal was appealed on both local and state levels. Coastal Engineering Company helped guide the project through a rigorous review process that took several years to complete. Ultimately, in the summer of 2018, the fish house was successfully elevated and supported by a new pile foundation. Safe and in character with the surrounding neighborhood, it is now used as a shellfish nursery for A.R.C. company, where they grow quahogs, oysters, and clams. A.R.C. chose this location because, being nutrient-rich, Herring River is an ideal environment for an aquaculture nursery. Upweller pumps draw water from the river and circulate it through the tanks filled with oyster and clam seeds. The seeds feed on the nutrients and grow until they reach a certain size and get sold for further propagation. In process, the seeds help clean the water, so this facility benefits both the commercial aquaculture industry and the environment. This is an ideal “Blue Economy” project that balances the region’s economic and environmental health, creates a new regional identity focused on pride in our water and coastal resources, and supports a sustainable year-around economy for Cape Cod residents.