DEI assisted clammer Joseph Porada with a USDA-SBIR Phase II grant to farm quahogs (hard clams). In doing so, DEI conducted field experiments to evaluate the biological and economic efficacy of field-based nursery systems and grow-out.
This project extended the previous experiments (Phase I) to larger, pre-commercial scales to test hypotheses concerning both spatial and temporal variation in cultured hard clam growth and survival during the nursery, overwintering, and grow-out phases at Goose Cove and sites west of there in Hancock County.
Specifically, this project sought to determine the answers to several questions:
1) what configuration of a field-based nursery system, and which nursery locations, will allow us to produce the largest transplantable hard clam seed?
2) what the most efficient method is to store pre-planting size seed over the winter to optimize survival and growth?
3) what field grow-out methods will produce market size animals in the most effective and efficient manner?
4) to what degree inter-annual variability plays in hard clam growth and survival, both in the field nursery and grow-out phases?
Analysis of growth rates found that clams planted in Trenton, ME will take between 4 and 5 years to reach a shell-length of 2-inches.