The soft-shell clam, Mya arenaria (L. 1758), has the highest landed value of Maine bivalves. Landings have been variable over the last century with current landings one third of their historical highs caused by low harvests in Eastern Maine. Diminished clam populations have been subjected to constant fishing pressure and heavy predation by green crabs apparently unchecked by winterkill. Clam stocks previously closed to harvesting because of pollution are now dug. Reduced breeding populations are tasked to produce a sufficient set to overcome offshore dispersal of larvae to repopulate flats on the coast of Maine. On-bottom and off-bottom sampling found few clam larvae in Eastern Maine. Recovery of the fishery will require reestablishment of breeding stocks.
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Vol. 25 • No. 2