Interested in shellfish farming? Come to Islip.
In an effort to cultivate private shellfish farming on the Great South Bay, the Town of Islip on Tuesday plans to hold a lottery for several bay bottom leases that officials hope could garner more than $2 million in revenue.
More than 17 local farmers and entrepreneurs already have expressed interest in obtaining one of the 13 available parcels ranging in size from one to five acres, town officials said Monday. The town currently operates its own plot and in 2010 began leasing two other parcels to private entities.
The auction marks a major expansion of the bay bottom lease program, which in 2012 garnered more than 200,000 oysters grown to market size.
Islip’s Shellfish Hatchery, one of several municipal-run operations on Long Island, produces 20 million to 40 million seed clams and a much smaller number of seed oysters annually in the Great South Bay. Officials want to expand the operation — through an increase in bay bottom leases — in an effort to improve water quality and the ecological health of the bay.
The auction starts at 11 a.m. at the Islip Beach Pavilion, located at the end of South Bay Avenue in Islip.
Photo: A seagull keeps a clammer company in the waters off the Sayville Marina in the Great South Bay. (2011) Photo by Joseph D. Sullivan