SOUTHWEST HARBOR — The clam population here has rebounded from dangerously low levels a decade ago, but not yet enough to support commercial harvesting.
The board of selectmen Tuesday night approved the shellfish committee’s recommendation that the town issue an unlimited number of recreational licenses –for up to one peck of clams at a time – for 2015. No commercial licenses would be allowed. The committee will now ask the Maine Department of Marine Resources to approve that decision.
Committee chairman Jim Colquhoun said in a memo to selectmen that the number of soft shell clams in the town’s waters has remained virtually unchanged over the past year.
“A survey done with the Pemetic School science class in Fernald Cove in June verifies this judgment for this most important local clam flat,” Colquhoun said. “This status can be described as greatly recovered after the serious over-exploitation of 2000 to 2002, but stocks remain below optimum carrying capacity. We do not believe the status of the resource will allow for the issuance of any commercial licenses.”
Recreational shellfish licenses for 2015 will be available at the town office starting in mid-December.