Recruitment boxes (aka “Beal boxes”) are a simple tool that can be used to increase information about the natural production of a clam flat. The use of this resource assessment tool has redefined the terms “productive,” and “dead mud.”
Data (such as Beal et al. 2018, Beal et al. 2020, Clam Recruitment Monitoring Network, research in the St. George and Weskeag River in 2017 and 2018) from recruitment boxes indicates that areas with few live commercial or juvenile clams are actually tremendously productive in terms of wild clam recruitment. The boxes show that large numbers of clams are in the water and settling, but these animals aren’t surviving to commercial sizes due to predation.
This diagram depicts how a recruitment box enhances understanding concerning the number of juvenile clams that are settling onto a mudflat.