Massachusetts Surf Clam Aquaculture Research

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A project underway at Woods Hole Sea Grant is evaluating surf clams (Spisula solidissima) as a potential shellfish aquaculture species.

An early phase involved distributing local hatchery-produced surf clam seed to southeast Massachusetts growers and establishing a seed clam planting experiment in Barnstable Harbor with the aid of the town’s natural resource department.

Growth and survival were monitored from 2015 to present and early results show promise for this species as a desirable/marketable product.

Woods Hole Sea Grant staff visit participating shellfish farms to deliver seed, monitor procedures, and collect data/samples.

Results of studies are disseminated and presented to growers as well as at public meetings and conferences. Additionally, data are used to inform grant proposals and engagement with other researchers.

Woods Hole Sea Grant staff collaborated with the local shellfish hatchery (ARC) and Roger Williams University on a $105,245 grant proposal to the 2016 Saltonstall-Kennedy Competitive Research Program which was recently funded.

Researchers will explore the commercial viability of undersized surf clams, which are marketed as “butter clams”. Investigators will determine the best location and conditions to produce market sized “butter clams, evaluating factors such as temperature, sediment type, tidal height, containment equipment, and predator control.

source: Woods Hole Sea Grant