Commercializing Farmed Arctic Surf Clams:
The Arctic surf clam, Mactromeris polynyma, is native to the Gulf of Maine, but the only commercial fishery, with $50 million in annual sales, is in Canada. Adult clams, 3.5 to 5 inches in size (ca. 20-40 yrs old) are harvested for their large and colorful foot, used in sushi. Because of its popularity and high price in Asian and other seafood markets here in the U.S., this species is an excellent culture candidate if field growout methods can be developed to produce commercial quantities.
For several years, DEI has been conducting research to find a new candidate species for shellfish aquaculture, with a goal of diversifying that industry, enabling farmers to increase their resilience.
Since 2012 DEI has been developing processes and technology to spawn, raise, and grow Arctic surf clams, and to determine that a market exists for a whole clam less than 2 inches long. DEI and the National Science Foundation‘s Partnership for Innovation commissioned a Market Assessment for Maine Grown Arctic Surfclams as part of a project called Translational Shellfish Research Activities in Downeast Maine: Building Innovation Capacity to Diversify Economic Opportunities.
Learn more about DEI’s specific research on this species by clicking on the posts below: