Back in the 1950s 2 men were stationed aboard a Navy submarine. During their time together they talked often about what they would do when they left the service – kind of like Forrest Gump and his friend Bubba….
the hatchery and conservation project at
chase garden creek
In The Beginning…
The two men on board that submarine were Van Alan Clarke from Bourne, a member of the family who owned Avon Products, and another local Cape Codder, Dick Loring.
Unlike Forrest Gump and Bubba, Clarke and Loring decided to try developing a system of growing shellfish from the hatchery stage through grow out to market size. They chose to start with steamers, or soft-shelled clams – and Aquacultural Research Corporation was born.
The early years were a struggle to formulate the techniques, fabricate the gear and create an infrastructure for an industry that was barely in its infancy. It took several decades to achieve a level of production for commercial sustainability.
In the 1960s and 70s the business was also involved in processing seafood, retailing and operating a fish market. Many local people still remember the “Cultured Clam.”
The company then, as it does today, occupied a site on Chase Garden Creek, behind the Chapin Beach Dunes in Dennis, Massachusetts on Cape Cod.
Several employees bought the business in 1984 and ran it until 2015 when present ownership took control.
When the business was purchased in 1984, its focus was shifted back to aquaculture and the company facility in Dennis was converted for the sole purpose of producing shellfish seed to both sell and grow out to market size. It was decided, for many reasons, the most logical candidate species to culture for future viability was the native Quahog, or hardshell clam, M. mercenaria. A.R.C. planted its first crop of littleneck clams in the fall of 1984 and began harvesting them for market sales in 1986. Since that first crop, A.R.C. has planted and harvested crops every year.
Oysters were added to the mix a little later followed by other species such as bay scallops, razor clams and surf clams.
After an economic downturn in 2010, The company struggled financially. Some astute politicians, business people and local organizations realized that if A.R.C. were to ever fail, the 1600 shellfish farmers - and their families - who rely on A.R.C. seed would be in financial jeopardy.
A group of investors came together in 2015 to purchase the business and today A.R.C. is owned by a group of individuals and organizations who are fully committed to helping maintain a vital way of life on Cape Cod.
One of the first projects our ownership undertook was significant infrastructure upgrades that included an all new algae production facility and an all new hatchery.
Today, A.R.C.is a wholesaler of prime market-sized quahogs and oysters served at both fine dining restaurants and at local clambakes throughout the U.S.
We are also the largest producer of shellfish seed in New England supplying quahogs, oysters, bay scallops, surf clams and other shellfish to a range of customers up and down the Eastern seaboard. Seed customers include commercial and recreational farmers for grow out, and municipalities for seeding recreational shellfish beds and for waterways cleanup.
Additionally, A.R.C. works closely with research facilities to help develop innovative techniques and practices to sustain shellfish farming well into the future.