Searsport Shellfish Committee 2012 Clam Experiment
On a recent spring day several members of the Searsport Shellfish Management Committee arrived at the beach on the east shore of Sears Island armed with rakes, hoes, large rolls of plastic mesh and four net bags of live juvenile clams. Their mission was to seed 8,000 juvenile clams as this year's restoration project.
First, trenches were dug around four marked areas, then the sand within was raked to loosen it. Approximately 2,000 clams were seeded into each area and carefully raked in. The pre-sized nets were spread over the seeded areas and secured in the trenches with rocks and sand. A few floats under the nets will allow for some lifting when the tide comes in.
The project areas will be monitored, with periodic sampling conducted during the summer and early fall. Then the nets will be removed and a final sampling will be taken to determine how much growth there has been and how many clams may have succumbed to their chief predators, green crabs and milky ribbon worms.
The committee asks that people and their pets stay off the netted areas. These clams will take about three years to grow to the legal digging size of two inches. Similar and related projects in past years have resulted in much more productive clam flats.