Maine’s $18M soft-shell clam (Mya arenaria) industry is in trouble. The Gulf of Maine has been warming faster than 99% of the world’s oceans. Warmer waters have allowed populations of the invasive European green crab to increase along Maine’s coast and decimate the soft-shell clam resource in some towns. Because the crabs prey on younger clams, once the commercial-size clams are harvested, there are no juveniles to replace them. The fishery collapses. Shellfish harvesters are looking for a solution to keep clamming a viable option for future generations of Mainers.
WHAT WE DO
To address this growing concern Manomet partnered with clammer Chris Warner in 2012 to develop Maine’s first commercial soft-shell farm off the coast of Georgetown, Maine in Heal Eddy. The farming method projects juvenile clams from the green crab with industrial netting laid over intertidal flats seeded with baby clams. The method works. In 2015, Manomet received a grant from the NOAA Saltonstall-Kennedy program to expand their efforts and help coastal towns in Maine learn about soft-shell clam farming.
HOW WE WORK
The grant from NOAA is allowing us to reach out to towns to teach about soft-shell clam farming and to install farms in at least five towns in Maine, with willing and interested harvesters.
If you are interested in participating in the project, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check the Maine Soft-shell Aquaculture Website for dates of upcoming presentations and tours of the clam farm at Heal Eddy.