The Mid-Atlantic surf clam and ocean quahog fishery exists from New England down to the Virginia coast. The fishery targets two species of clams which sometimes have overlapping territories.
Clams are landed whole and transported to facilities where they are shucked, cooked and processed into a variety of food items.
The ocean quahog is also known as a mahogany clam, mahogany quahog, black quahog and black clam. Quahogs reach 3-6 inches. The ocean quahog is a slow growing clam that matures in twenty to forty years. Some may live as long as 200 years.
The Atlantic surf clam is harvested commercially off New York, New Jersey Maryland, Virginia, and on the Georges Bank. They are also known as a skimmer, hen clam, sea clam, giant clam, and bar clam. Surf clams range from 4 to 8 inches in length.
The USA mid-Atlantic offshore surf clam/ocean quahog industry consists of large vessels which pull enormous dredges, equipped with pressurized water jets that blast the bottom to expose clams.
The Mid-Atlantic surf clam and ocean quahog fishery operates under an Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) system.