The Commission was formed in 1986 to reopen the town's shellfish beds, which had been closed to recreational shellfishing since 1960. Working under the aegis of the Greenwich Health Department Director and the State Bureau of Aquaculture, the Commission was able to reopen the beds to the public in the Fall of 1991. Since 2002 the Commission has been farming the abundant supply of quahogs in Greenwich Cove to improve the habitat for smaller, table-size hard-shell clams. the quahogs that are removed by this activity are sold to Nature Conservancy in other communities for breeding and experimental purposes.
In 2003 the Commission planted two million half-inch, disease-resistant, Blue Point oysters in the Cove in order to replenish the oyster population decimated in 1997 by two oyster diseases not harmful to humans, MSX and Dermo.
The Shellfish Coordinator samples water quality in and around the Cove and islands regularly at about 30 stations. The samples are taken to the State Bureau of Aquaculture in Milford for analysis. The on-shore beds are open from mid-October to mid-May, the offshore beds are open year-round. Shellfishing is monitored regularly by 25 volunteer wardens.
The Commission also works with local schools to promote aquaculture by providing support for studies to increase our knowledge of the resource.
-The commissioners are appointed by the Town of Greenwich Board of Selectmen.