Ronald A. Aho

  • INTRODUCTION - An area in Sampson Cove on the Medomak River was surveyed on 10/21/05 by the Waldoboro Shellfish Committee with the assistance of students from Medomak Valley High School.
  • METHOD - The upper inter tidal area was surveyed. Plots of 0.2 m2 were dug at 50' intervals for a total of 23 plots. All clams removed were retained for measurement. Clams were measured to the nearest ¼", rounding up. After all clams were measured, the information was entered into an Excel spreadsheet to convert the lengths of the clams in inches to the volume of clams in bushels.
  • RESULTS - The area surveyed was about 1.3 acres. A total of 403 clams were dug, of which 7, or 1.7% of the total, were greater than 2" in length. The average length of all clams harvested was 1.2". 
    The average yield was about 85.8 bus/acre or 111.6 bushels for the whole area surveyed. The total yield of clams for those greater than 2" in length was about 6.6 bus/acre or a total of 8.6 bushels of commercial sized clams in the area surveyed.
  • DISCUSSION - It is not possible to say how much the clams would increase in length during a conservation closure, but it is not unreasonable to assume that the average increase might be ¾ of an inch. Using this assumption, it's possible to make an estimate of the potential yield. 
    In the present example an increase of ¾" in length would result in a total yield of 305 bus/ acre with about 231 bushels being in the commercial size range. 
    In this case, the conservation closure in this very small cove would result in an increase from 8.8 bushels to 231 bushels. 
    It is possible to estimate the value of this closure to the clammers. In 2004, the average value of clams was about $75.00 / bushel. The increase in value from this closure would be from $660 to $17,325 or an increase of $16,665.