On April 17, 2012, the Eldredge family completed construction on their Harding’s Beach fish weir. The very next day Ernie Eldredge and his brother John, who have been trap fishing their entire lives since the early 1960s, went to haul it and there was fish—mainly squid! Over the preceding generations, the Eldredges have fished their weirs in Nantucket Sound, and landed thousands of pounds of different species on their dock in Stage Harbor—from scup & black sea bass, to mackerel and bonito—feeding fresh fish to families around the region & beyond. Crewmembers, of Nickerson and Young origin and many many others helped fish the traps in the Spring & Summer months.
Recent challenges such as overfishing, water quality and predation (seals) have attributed to a lower seasonal catch. However efforts by Ernie Eldredge and fisherman/ researcher scientist Owen Nichols have been moderately encouraging as they have worked together, studying ways to keep predators from the weirs as a solution to one of the negative impacts. Nichols is pursuing his PhD and has named Eldredge as his co-author on his work.
Ernie Eldredge’s wife Shareen Davis and their daughters Shannon and Morgan created the first ever Cape based community supported fisheries membership to enhance the monetary value of having less of a catch and to help sustain the ability of the consumer to obtain fresh local seafood from our waters off Chatham