Hatchery

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

We raise various species of shellfish for fisheries stock enhancement and research purposes. We also produce food for the shellfish through our stock microalgal (phytoplankton) culture system and mass algal growout system.

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

DEI has developed techniques for hatchery production of soft-shell clams, as well as growing, overwintering, and seeding clam flats, and transferred those technologies to municipal shellfish committees, clammers, and the scientific community.

Impacts of DEI’s Shellfish Hatchery:

  • Increases the culture and distribution of commercially important shellfish seed to communities wishing to enhance their shellfish stocks.
  • With our new business incubator, local entrepreneurs will have space to experiment with shellfish aquaculture, and receive assistance with plans to commercialize.
  • Increases Maine’s shellfish aquaculture capacity — an economic growth sector.

To learn about ordering soft-shell clams click here.

In addition to soft-shell clams, DEI produces other shellfish species such as quahogs, razor clams, Blue mussels, European oysters, Arctic surfclams, scallops, and lobsters.

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