Long Island natives and Lucky 13 founders Matt Welling and Max Haspel grew up along the Great South Bay enjoying the pursuits typical of “bay rats” – sailing, surfing, fishing and clamming. They have distinct memories of baymen making their living from the most bountiful fruit of these waters: the hard clam. In the mid-1970s half the nation’s harvest of littleneck, cherrystone and chowder clams came from the Great South Bay. A confluence of events, primarily overharvesting, decimated the bay’s clam population, similar to the world-famous Blue Point oyster fate decades earlier.
When Matt and Max learned of the Town of Islip’s aquaculture leasing program, they knew immediately they wanted to get involved. Thirteen parcels were made available for the initial program. On the day of the lottery their number was not drawn among the first twelve picks, and just one plot remained. Fingers crossed –their number was drawn for the last available plot – the thirteenth. Lucky 13 Oysters was underway.