According to the State of Connecticut, Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm (NBSF) was officially formed on December 1st, 2014. The idea for the Farm began in 2013 and came to fruition in April of 2016. Between 2013 and 2016, founder Tim Londregan researched growing methods, applied for leases and permits, amassed experience, sought knowledge, and finally collected the necessary materials needed to form a fully functional aquaculture farm. All this was made possible by the support of his wife Marie and his extended family.
Tim began this farm on two basic concepts, to partner with nature and the community to form a better more sustainable future and to grow the best possible product, exemplified and backed by Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm's Pristine Product Promise. These will concepts have never and will never be compromised.
From the beginning of Tim Londregan's vision of starting an aquaculture farm, he has not been willing to compromise on one thing, despite better judgment and suggestions from others. Niantic was the only location he would consider for his shellfish farm. Tim knew his farm needed to be in Niantic for two reasons, first he has strong roots in both the river and community, and second because, simply put, there is no better site in Connecticut for growing shellfish.
Niantic or Bust
With the river being an active waterway used by many competing entities and the risky southeastern exposure of the final grow-out site in the bay, some suggested looking looking for other growing areas, this was not an option. Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm has stuck it out and bet it all on Niantic. Why was Niantic the only place considered for the farm? As any farmer could tell you, there is more to farming than mitigating risk and your bottom line, it's a way of life. Founder, Tim Londregan, works everyday knowing that he and his team are giving back to both the environment and the community. Shellfish aquaculture is the most efficient protein production method in the world, making it a naturally sustainable farming practice. Not only do shellfish not need to be fed, they clean the water allowing for sunlight penetration which, in turn, allows for benthic growth and photosynthesis thus establishing a more flourishing ecosystem.
Niantic deserves to have both clean waters and bio-diversity. By deploying the shellfish gear, safe havens for many invertebrates, fin-fish, and other aquatic guests are created. The gear deployed has been shown to provide great habitat for flat fish, specifically the Winter Flounder which has been slowly disappearing from the Bay. With a low carbon footprint and providing many benefits to the local Niantic eco-system, both the environment and community benefit from the presence of Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm. Due to Tim Londregan's roots, love, and respect for the waters of Niantic, he wanted his blood, sweat, and tears to benefit the very water which initiated his passion for aquaculture. This is why he refused to be in any other body of water; Tim designed NBSF to give back and provide opportunities to the community which otherwise would have never existed. See "Doing Our Part"
No Better Site in Connecticut
Location, location, location. Simply put, there is no better location in Connecticut to grow such a Pristine Product. Niantic Bay is one of the few areas classified by the State as "Approved" which the best water quality status found along the entire Eastern Long Island Sound. Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm's grow-out site is exposed to a twenty-one-mile fetch running from the tip of Long Island to the Niantic shores. A fetch is the distance traveled by wind or waves across open water, this exposure comes with inherent risks as well as rewards. The cool, rejuvenating off-shore waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the constant waves allow our oysters to obtain a firm, deep cupped shell. This calculated but precarious position provides our shellfish with unprecedented water flow as compared other shellfish farms in the region.
One of the best indicators of productivity of an area is to look at it's history. Niantic is known nationally for producing some of the most delicious and satisfying shellfish, period. Ask any shellfisher on the river, they come from all around to Niantic because the trip is worth it. Continue to ask around and you will learn that the Niantic Bay Scallop was the pinnacle of scallops around the world until it became nearly extinct in the 1970's due to over harvesting. Lastly, looking at the sheer sales numbers of shellfishing permits by the local commission, when compared to other Connecticut commissions, one will begin to notice that something truly special happens in these waters.
After a grueling, eighteen-month process to obtain the proper leases and permits was completed, the infrastructure to start an aquatic farm needed to be established.
NBSF has a sixty-two-acre lease in Niantic Bay in which seven acres are approved for Type II aquaculture or aquaculture that deploys structures on the ocean floor. NBSF uses bottom trays as a means to grow out its product. These "cages" are tethered to a 300' sinking long line which is anchored at either end with helix anchors. This method ensures that no gear will be lost during storms, wash up on shore, or cause damage to public property all while sitting at least six feet below to water surface and unseen to the human eye. Each corner of the current acreage in use is marked with DEEP required markers to inform boaters of the submerged gear.
In order to tend cages that can reach over 400 pounds, we completely rebuilt a 1983 21' privateer center console with a custom davit to handle our gear. The pride and joy of NBSF's fleet is the "Shell-Plex". This forty-nine-foot boat is the command center of the operation. Used to sort, tumble, dry, cull, and ship oysters, this operation would not be possible without this boat. Every system we use was custom designed and built by NBSF to specifically meet our high standard while allowing us to have complete control over our system so we can grow the oysters we want to grow - the best! See more in our Gallery.