Good Tidings

The History and Ecology of Shellfish Farming in the Northeast

Barbara Brennessel

For a food-obsessed culture it is surprising how little we actually know about many of the creatures we consume. Take the iconic New England shellfish. While we blithely slurp down oysters and prong another mussel out of its shell, how much do we actually know about the science and industry that brought it to our plate? Inspired by her summers spent raking clams in Wellfleet, Barbara Brennessel has written an overview of the regional shellfish industry. Part industry guide, part biology lesson, part cultural history, Good Tidings is a wide-ranging study of the shellfish of the Northeast—including clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops—from seabed to plate. The book offers an accessible introduction to the science and ecology of the shellfish aquaculture industry, including a brief history of the industry in the northeast and a look at the current technologies utilized by shellfish growers. The author looks at issues as diverse as the history of wampum, land use debates, the impact of the industry on the surrounding environment, and even offers the reader a selection of her favorite recipes.

Cloth: $22.95
ISBN-13: 9781584657279
Pages: 228 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: December 31, 2008


  • [T]his offering is a mini-encyclopedia on shellfish . . . that any . . . may want in their library.

    Provincetown Banner
  • Good Tidings, indeed! In her book, Barbara Brennessel has assembled a wealth of information into an accurate overview of the shellfish aquaculture industry in the northeast. Thorough enough to serve as a text for an aquaculture course but also written in a style easily understood by the general public, this is a book I will recommend to anyone wanting to learn more about the growing, green industry of shellfish farming.

    Rick Karney
    Shellfish Biologist/Director, Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group
  • Barbara got her hands dirty (and wet) researching this book, and it shows! If you're interested in what it takes to grow an oyster or raise a clam, this book is for you.

    Bill Walton
    Fisheries & Aquaculture Specialist, Cape Cod Cooperative Extension & Woods Hole Sea Grant

About the Author

Barbara Brennessel

Barbara Brennessel, Ph.D. is Professor Emerita of Biology at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. She taught Biochemistry, Microbiology and other courses at Wheaton for 33 years. She currently lives on Cape Cod in Wellfleet. Her recent research is focused on the Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin). She wrote Diamonds in the Marsh: A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin. She also served on the Shellfish Advisory Board in Wellfleet, and wrote Good Tidings: The …

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