PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS PETERSEN A shellfish conservation project organized by the Bar Harbor Marine Resources Committee. This year’s license season will be extended to Sept. 1 to allow clammers more time to complete required conservation hours.

Town to offer junior clam licenses

BAR HARBOR — In an effort to encourage a new generation of clammersthe town will begin issuing a new class of commercial shellfish licenses to harvesters under 18 years old. 

The Marine Resources Committee, which manages the town’s shellfish in coordination with the state Department of Marine Resources, proposed the change and the Town Council approved the request last week. 

“We haven’t seen many new clammers come in,” committee member Chris Petersen told councilors, “so this is one way to potentially get some.” 

The junior commercial license carries half the registration fee ($60 compared with $120) and no requirement to complete conservation hours for license holders under age 17, per Department of Labor Rules. 

The council also approved two other changes to shellfish licenses in the town. 

One is temporary; an extension of the current license season until Sept. 1 to allow current license holders more time to complete conservation hours. 

Clammers can complete those hours by participating in conversation projects, but more often they earn the hours by attending Marine Resources Committee meetings. This year, due to postponement and changes to municipal meetings during the pandemic emergency, that’s been harder to do. 

“The restrictions on being around others has restricted the ability of people to do conservation hours,” Petersen wrote in a memo to councilors, “and most towns are either removing the requirement for this year or delaying the date of this year’s license. We chose the latter.” 

The other change is an adjustment to the town’s system for allocating commercial licenses. There are currently four commercial resident licenses. If there are fewer than four residents interested in licenses in any given year, under DMR rules, any unsold licenses are available to anyone after 90 days, and a nonresident license holder would not be required to complete conservation hours. 

For the last decade, Petersen said, the town has had between one and four commercial harvesters. Under the change to an “unlimited class” of licenses, the town would not have to offer any nonresident licenses until six resident licenses are sold, and all adult license holders, including nonresidents, would be required to do the conservation hours. 

 A public hearing on the ordinance changes is set for the July 21 Town Council meeting, after which the council will take final votes.


Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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