DV-19-08 Examining the efficacy of methods to enhance soft-shell clam recruitment along the Maine coast

Dr. Brian Beal
Downeast Institute

The soft-shell clam fishery is an important part of Maine’s history and culture. However, clam landings have decreased over the past decade due to warming water temperatures and predation by invasive species. In order to support sustainable seafood and coastal ecosystem health, investigators will test whether “brushing” is a viable option for increasing soft-shell clam populations along the Maine coast. Brushing involves inserting various types of tree boughs (typically fir, spruce, and/or birch) into the intertidal sediments in order to encourage soft-shell clam settlement by providing a protective area for the clams. In order to better understand the efficacy of brushing, scientists will compare it to a netting method used to deter predators. Scientists will conduct studies at three field sites: Gouldsboro (Downeast), Bremen (Midcoast), and Harpswell (Southwest), representing the entirety of Maine’s coastal regions. At the end of the clamming season, scientists will return to the sites to collect data and the information gathered will be given to Shellfish Committees, as well as other state and municipal shellfish managers, in order to inform the management of the fishery.

Sea Grant Funds: $4,998