CLAM HARVEST CONTINUES DECLINE
SCARBOROUGH, MAINE» The softshell clams that are harvested by hand and raked from the mud flats of Maine are becoming less plentiful, and the downward trend jeopardizes one of New England’s oldest and most historic coastal industries.
Maine is the soft-shell clam capital of the country. But clammers harvested less than 1.5 million pounds last year, the lowest total in a quarter century — down from nearly 8 million pounds at the industry’s height in the late 1970s.
“Last year was one of the lowest totals since the ’50s,” said Chad Coffin, a Freeport clammer who heads the Maine Clammers Association. “There’s still areas of the coast right now where there just isn’t a lot of clams.”
Clams in Maine face of a number of threats, including an uptick in predation from green crabs and milky ribbon worms, and the increasing acidification of the ocean. ●●●