Over the past thirty years, Maine’s soft-shell clam landings have ranked second or third in commercial value of all marine species harvested in Maine waters, with dockside values in 2015 reaching $22.54 million (Fig. 1). Figure 1. Landings and dockside value of soft-shell clams in Maine [...]
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Soft-shell clams are the economic backbone of Maine’s coastal communities. The state produces about 60% of the country’s soft-shell clams. Clams typically are Maine’s second most economically valuable marine resource, and the industry employs the second highest number of fishermen, after lobstering. In 2017 its dockside value was over $12 million, and the industry is valued at $36 million when wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and restaurants are included.
However, since 1980s, as water temperatures have warmed, statewide landings have declined by 75%. DEI’s research has investigated the cause of the decline, which was found to be increased predation. It has also demonstrated practices that assist the fishery adapt to warming ocean watersby examining the effectiveness of different methods to protect shellfish from green crabs and other predators with the goal towards enhancing soft-shell clam populations.
Click below to read more about DEI’s soft-shell clam research projects: