The Denver Post - - NATION & WORLD - The As­so­ci­ated Press

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. ●●●

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