The results of soft-shell clam surveys conducted at eighteen flats across all three regions of the Maine coast were released in a report by the Downeast Institute (DEI) today. The surveys provide local and regional snapshots of clam densities and average sizes. Scientists will use the baseline information to better understand fishery biomass trends.
The surveys were done during early May as part of the new Clam Recruitment Monitoring Network which involves local clammers and community members from nine Maine towns in working with DEI to monitor natural clam settlement and survival.
“The highest densities of clams were at a flat in Scarborough, in which we found 29.6 clams per square foot,” said Dr. Brian Beal, of the University of Maine at Machias, who designed and led the research. Beal said a flat in Lamoine had an average density of 28 clams per square foot, the highest of towns in the downeast region, and in the midcoast a flat in Wiscasset had 24 clams per square foot.
“Our next step is to measure how many juvenile clams settle to the mudflats this season on these same flats,” said Sara Randall, the Co-PI of the network. “The survey data will help us interpret information about clam settlement and survival levels at our monitoring sites along the Maine coast.”
The Clam Recruitment Monitoring Network standardizes clam recruitment measurement efforts across the coast and builds a comprehensive data set that communities can apply to the management of shellfish resources in a changing climate. Read the report.
The Soft-Shell Clam Recruitment Monitoring Network is funded by Maine Sea Grant.
More information about the Clam Recruitment Monitoring Network can be found here.