Center for Shellfish Production & Research

DEI is the state’s first — and only — public shellfish hatchery.

DEI specializes in raising juvenile shellfish for fisheries stock enhancement and for research purposes. To do so, we also produce food for the shellfish through our stock microalgal (phytoplankton) culture system and mass algal growout system.

Our organization (originally known as the Beals Island Regional Shellfish Hatchery) began producing cultured juvenile clams to reseed flats in 1987 to address the noticeable decline of eastern Maine’s soft-shell clam populations. We are one of only a few hatcheries in New England that produce soft-shell seed clams. Since we began, we have produced hundreds of millions of seed clams for Maine coastal communities and others in northern New England and eastern Canada.

Besides developing techniques for hatchery production of soft-shell clams, DEI has developed a number of seeding and monitoring methods that can be used by municipal shellfish committees, clammers, and the scientific community.

Impacts of DEI’s Center for Shellfish Production & Research:

  • Increases the culture and distribution of commercially important shellfish seed to communities wishing to enhance shellfish stocks.
  • Increases available expertise in shellfish production and grow-out.
  • Increases Maine’s shellfish aquaculture capacity a priority economic growth sector.

In addition to soft-shell clams, DEI produces other shellfish species such as quahogs, razor clams, Atlantic surf clams, Arctic surf clams, blue mussels, sea scallops, American lobsters, American and European oysters. 

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