A two-year collaboration between DEI staff and Maine’s Department of Marine Resources (DMR) area biologists was published in the December 2016 issue of the Journal of Shellfish Research. The paper is titled: “Comparative, Large-Scale Field Trials Along the Maine Coast to Assess Management Options to Enhance Populations of the Commercially Important Softshell Clam, Mya arenaria L.” The work occurred at two intertidal flats in each of the towns of Jonesboro, South Thomaston, and Boothbay during the summer and fall of 2014 and 2015, and examined how predator exclusion netting along with planting cultured seed clams (produced at DEI) can enhance wild stocks of clams on intertidal flats.
According to the abstract of the paper, “Average annual and wintertime seawater temperatures in the Gulf of Maine have risen gradually during the past two decades, and this has been accompanied by increases in clam predators such as the invasive European green crab, Carcinus maenas. In this climate, conservation closures or other large-scale, indirect shellfish management tools cannot be effective in creating new wealth or maintaining jobs associated with the clam fishery in most areas. Therefore, to adapt to changes and increase diversification in the clamming industry in Maine, clammers should be encouraged to farm small (ca. ≤ 10 acres) intertidal tracts where netting and other predator-deterrent measures can be maintained easily and routinely, and where exclusive rights to harvest the farmed shellfish are granted to the individual.”