BARS and baseball: Barnstable’s summer pastimes
Shellfishing association takes awareness to the ball game

August 7, 2008


Written by Kathleen Szmit
Shellfishing association takes awareness to the ball game

Ah, the sounds of summer on Cape Cod: the crack of baseball bats, the roar of the crowd, the soft scrape of a shellfish rake and the familiar “thunk” as it finds a hidden gem.

Kathleen Szmit photo
QUAHOGS AND HOMERUNS –The Barnstable Association of Recreational Shellfishermen set up shop at a Hyannis Mets game on Aug. 4 to encourage folks to give shell fishing a try and consider a BARS membership.

Wait. What do baseball and shellfishing have to do with each other?

“There’s nothing like baseball and shellfishing in the summer,” said John Gorecki, member of the Barnstable Association for Recreational Shellfishermen. “Baseball is the national pastime; maybe shellfishing is our local pastime.”

On Aug. 5 Gorecki and several other BARS members, including Dick Ossen and Camille Boullie, set up an information tent at the Hyannis Mets home game against the Chatham A’s.

“During the course of the season the baseballs [used in the game] are sponsored by different businesses and organizations,” said Gorecki.

He suggested to BARS members that they consider sponsoring baseballs for an evening as a means of promoting the association.

“It just snowballed from there,” he said. “And we ended up with a table.”

Throughout the evening BARS members talked with visitors about the various aspects of shellfishing, ideal Barnstable locations, and about the association’s new mentoring program.

“People interested in learning how to shellfish will come and we’ll teach them,” said Gorecki.

The curriculum of the new program includes reading tide charts, shellfishing tools, harvest limits, and more. Participants will also learn about the BARS propagation program through which members lay down various shellfish seed at area beaches.

Members hoped that folks attending the game would be inspired to participate in shellfishing, or even opt to become a BARS member.

“The friendships you make when you’re out [in the water] make it even more special,” said Ossen, who noted that BARS also works closely with the town’s Natural Resources staff to protect area shellfish beds. “You know you’re doing a good thing. You’re ensuring there’s going to be shellfishing for your kids and grandkids.”

Whether shellfishing is a sport is open to debate, but any BARS member and active shellfisherman will tell you that it’s a very popular year-round activity in Barnstable.

“Being out in the fresh air is great,” said Boullie, recalling a recent excursion to Scudder Bay. “The cars stretched all the way to 6A.”

“It’s fun watching kids play with the rakes,” said Gorecki.

Shellfishing is also a wise investment.

“It’s $20, $10 for seniors and it pays for itself in one outing,” said Ossen. “You can get 40 oysters in a half-basket. In this day of bad economics, you just can’t beat it.”

For more information on BARS and its mentoring class, call John Gorecki at 508-775-6234 or Camille Boullie at 508-385-1366, or go to


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