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Sea Scouts to Host Benefit for Shellfish Hatchery, Oyster Reef

March 1 event at 230 Elm supports The Conscience Point Shellfish Hatchery.

Southampton's Sea Scout Ship 908 — a maritime unit of the Boy Scouts of America — is setting up a shellfish hatchery at Conscience Point Marina in North Sea with the ultimate goal of establishing an oyster reef in North Sea Harbor and contributing to clam beds in western Shinnecock Bay, to help clean up local waters and protect marine life.

Now the Sea Scout Ship is asking for the community to pitch in to the effort by coming down to 230 Elm in Southampton Village on March 1 for a night of art and music.  The Bivalve Revival, as the benefit is named, will include an art auction and performances by The Realm, Mick Hargreaves and Terry Winchell.

Sea Scout Ship 908 estimates that $75,000 worth of labor and materials have been donated so far to the hatchery project, but more work needs to be done and more specialized equipment is needed, according to the ship's website.

Once complete, the building and equipment will be donated to another nonprofit, The Conscience Point Shellfish Hatchery, which is under the direction of Stony Brook marine science graduate Aaron Quisson, which is also a member of the Sea Scouts.

The hatchery will tie-in to education programs at Southampton High School, which has its own marine science lab, as well as Bridgehampton School, and local elementary and middle school classes will be invited for field trips.

According to the ship's website, the Sea Scouts' hatchery will support Stony Brook Southampton's plan to restore water quality in Shinnecock Bay.

The Sea Scouts will work with Chris Gobler, Ph.D., of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook Southampton.

According to SoMAS scientists, by adding more live organisms to the bay to use up excess nutrients — which are mostly the result of groundwater pollution from septic systems — the bay can be rid of an overabundance of algae that are threatening to marine life and human health.

Shellfish populations have declined in Shinnecock Bay for decades, with one culprit being the algae bloom known as brown tide, a murkiness that blocks sunlight from reaching eelgrass beds, where juvenile clams grow and fish forage.

The project calls for sanctuaries where there can be no fishing or destruction of habitat.

In August, Stony Brook Southampton announced it has received $3 million in grants toward the effort.

Read the entire Conscience Point Shellfish Hatchery, plan at seascoutship908.org.

The Bivalve Revival is March 1 from 7 to 11 p.m. at 230 Elm. Tickets are $30 in advance, available at Dunkerley's in Southampton Village and online at seascoutship908.org, or $35 at the door.

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