A group of East Boston clamdiggers yesterday sued Massport and a company that gases up jet planes for a fuel spill they say ruined some of the most productive clam beds in Boston Harbor - and possibly jeopardized the future of the clamming in the entire state.
The Boston Clamdiggers Association says that until the Oct. 7, 2010 spill, clam beds on flats next to the airport yielded an average of $200,000 worth of clams. But then, the clammers say, a worker for Swissport Fueling jammed the mechanism designed to keep airplane tanks from overfilling, then walked away, leading to a spill that got onto the flats and killed almost all the clams.
In their suit, filed yesterday in US District Court, the clammers add:
The lack of productive clamming in Boston Harbor has caused the Newburyport, Massachusetts clam processing facility to become unprofitable, making it a likely target for closure by the state legislature. The closure of the processing plant, which provides necessary services to bring Massachusetts clams to market, would further imperil clamming in the Commonwealth.
The clammers are seeking recovery of their lost profits plus damages and lawyer's fees.