Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Clam Harvests

While softshell clam landings by commercial fishermen are down from their peaks in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, the total value and price per pound have increased dramatically.  Some of the limits on clam harvests are a result of periodic closures of clam flats by the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Public health and water quality are the prime factors in the closures.

Another threat are invasive species. According to the Maine Department of Marine Resources, “Maine’s most destructive and costly invader has been the green crab which arrived in the eastern U.S. in the mid-1800s via ballast water from vessels from Europe and significantly diminished the soft-shell clam resource.”

The list of top ten towns in terms of pounds of clams harvested has varied.  In the five-year period 2007-2011, the following towns have been in the top ten each year: Brunswick,  Deer Isle, Freeport, Machiasport, Scarborough, St. George, and Waldoboro.  Harpswell missed only 2010.  Addison, Cushing, Damariscotta, and Swans Island were occasional listings. Click to enlarge all charts.

Softshell Clam Landings Top Ten Towns 2011

Softshell Clam Landings Top Ten Ports 2011 Price Received per Pound

As harvests have declined, then stabilized, the price per pound has increased, more than tripling since 1982.

Softshell Clam Harvest 1950-2011

Softshell Clam Harvest 1950-2011

Softshell Clam Price per Pound 1950-2011

Softshell Clam Price per Pound 1950-2011

YEAR POUNDS POUNDS
(millions)
VALUE PRICE/LB
1950 33,696,810 33.6968 $1,184,370 $0.04
1951 25,090,940 25.0909 $1,186,937 $0.05
1952 27,060,740 27.0607 $1,673,347 $0.06
1953 20,325,200 20.3252 $1,382,161 $0.07
1954 18,237,310 18.2373 $1,360,436 $0.07
1955 12,845,350 12.8454 $948,592 $0.07
1956 10,917,690 10.9177 $808,035 $0.07
1957 9,622,130 9.6221 $737,518 $0.08
1958 8,006,600 8.0066 $599,633 $0.07
1959 7,107,940 7.1079 $547,789 $0.08
1960 10,160,150 10.1602 $822,810 $0.08
1961 9,038,050 9.0381 $793,590 $0.09
1962 9,706,410 9.7064 $894,395 $0.09
1963 8,974,840 8.9748 $786,765 $0.09
1964 8,670,643 8.6706 $814,652 $0.09
1965 9,622,718 9.6227 $963,671 $0.10
1966 14,740,195 14.7402 $1,387,246 $0.09
1967 15,563,424 15.5634 $1,478,777 $0.10
1968 16,326,717 16.3267 $1,388,102 $0.09
1969 20,261,098 20.2611 $1,752,149 $0.09
1970 25,766,880 25.7669 $2,497,362 $0.10
1971 25,724,339 25.7243 $2,694,244 $0.10
1972 30,094,869 30.0949 $3,708,573 $0.12
1973 33,082,830 33.0828 $5,264,899 $0.16
1974 28,926,724 28.9267 $4,510,771 $0.16
1975 32,081,461 32.0815 $5,692,252 $0.18
1976 36,104,655 36.1047 $7,489,339 $0.21
1977 38,391,657 38.3917 $9,271,544 $0.24
1978 29,435,447 29.4354 $7,469,611 $0.25
1979 25,447,234 25.4472 $7,507,899 $0.30
1980 27,703,924 27.7039 $8,518,278 $0.31
1981 25,428,638 25.4286 $8,409,568 $0.33
1982 20,857,693 20.8577 $6,394,045 $0.31
1983 20,315,341 20.3153 $7,249,306 $0.36
1984 25,511,924 25.5119 $11,606,099 $0.45
1985 23,295,683 23.2957 $12,132,260 $0.52
1986 18,501,596 18.5016 $11,046,789 $0.60
1987 13,213,036 13.213 $8,214,291 $0.62
1988 11,324,473 11.3245 $7,423,976 $0.66
1989 12,332,962 12.333 $8,437,650 $0.68
1990 12,318,086 12.3181 $8,850,690 $0.72
1991 7,242,180 7.2422 $4,784,092 $0.66
1992 11,101,401 11.1014 $7,862,425 $0.71
1993 11,299,439 11.2994 $9,158,238 $0.81
1994 9,891,508 9.8915 $8,817,991 $0.89
1995 9,145,943 9.1459 $7,940,748 $0.87
1996 7,628,281 7.6283 $5,408,920 $0.71
1997 8,619,860 8.6199 $7,325,092 $0.85
1998 11,536,041 11.536 $10,082,059 $0.87
1999 11,181,594 11.1816 $10,465,211 $0.94
2000 11,193,217 11.1932 $9,545,531 $0.85
2001 13,031,932 13.0319 $16,609,083 $1.27
2002 11,875,072 11.8751 $14,369,771 $1.21
2003 11,584,281 11.5843 $15,859,272 $1.37
2004 11,661,647 11.6616 $16,627,775 $1.43
2005 9,099,746 9.0997 $14,080,692 $1.55
2006 9,608,285 9.6083 $13,775,038 $1.43
2007 9,109,558 9.1096 $12,576,460 $1.38
2008 9,768,308 9.7683 $12,831,121 $1.31
2009 9,306,958 9.3070 $11,686,086 $1.26
2010 10,166,172 10.1662 $12,960,885 $1.27
2011* 11,537,682 11.5377 $15,779,698 $1.37

Additional resources

Maine. Department of Marine Resources. “Non-Native Invasive Marine Species.” http://www.maine.gov/dmr/rm/invasives/index.htm (accessed February 27, 2011)

*2011 data, including landings by town, are preliminary.

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This entry was last modified: March 08, 2013 05:03 PM

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