Soft-shell clams, Mya arenaria L., represent an important recreational fishery along the New Hampshire coast. Intertidal flats in the Hampton-Seabrook Estuary are among the most heavily harvested. As recently as the fall of 1998, the sandy flats in this area supported more than 900 clammers, who, on weekends, easily harvested their 9.5-liter limit (Varney, 1999). Recently, however, quantitative benthic surveys have suggested that the abundance of adult clams (> 50 mm shell length, SL) has dwindled on the three estuarine flats (Brown’s Flat, Common Island, and Middle Ground). Clammers support this contention and many have been disappointed at the relative paucity of harvestable clams and the effort required to obtain them. Surveys have shown that clams in the area are reproducing and that s pat (< 25 mm SL) are abundant, but that populations of yearling clams (i.e., age 7-12 months and 26-50 mm SL) are very low. Staff at the New Hampshire Estuaries Project asked whether the limiting factor for a sustainable fishery could be poor juvenile survival.
New Hampshire Estuaries Project
Beal, Brian F., "Juvenile Clam Mortality Study at Three Intertidal Flats in Hampton Harbor, New Hampshire" (2002). PREP Reports & Publications. 313.