b'Stage HarborStage Harbor System: Photo by Geri AppleyardStage Harbor is a multi-use harbor with emphasis on recreational boating, commercial fi shing and shellfi shing. There are two tidal rivers that lead offthe harbor, Oyster River, which connects the harbor to Oyster Pond, and Mitchell River, which connects the harbor to Mill Pond and Little Mill Pond. The System contains some of the most heav-ily used harbor infrastructure in the Town. The contrast between the busy multi-use harbor and the estuarine ponds and associated habitats contributes to the character, vibrancy and signifi cance of the area. Commercial and recre-ational harvesting of bay scallops, quahogs, soft-shell clams, and mussels occurs throughout the system. Oysters, once abundant throughout the system are harvested sporadically and are a recreational resource since they are offlimits to commercial harvestingPleasant BayPleasant Bay: Photo by Geri AppleyardPleasant Bay is widely recognized as one of the richest and most diverse eco-systems in the northeast region. The Bay is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a barrier beach, which is the most prominent physical feature in determin-ing the health of the estuary. The barrier beach protects the Bay from the harsh impact of ocean waves, while the in-lets control the ebb and fl ow of ocean waters. Presently, there are two inlets that allow tidal waters to fl ow in and out of the Bay, one formed in 1987 and the other in 2007.The Bays size and diversity support abundant resources for shellfi shing, fi nfi shing, scenic viewing, swimming and boating. The watershed of the Pleasant Bay estuary is rich in wetlands resources that are vital to the areas ecology, its natural beauty, and its commercial and recreational values. Shellfi shing and fi nfi shing are important commercial and recreational activities in Pleasant Bay. Quahogs, scallops, mussels and soft shell crabs are historically the most popular shellfi sh for commercial and recreational fi shing. The Chatham Harbor subembayment is a critical off -loading location for Chathams commercial fi shing fl eet. Page 6 bluepages.indd 6 8/26/2009 1:48:57 PM'