Soft Shelled Clam Culture

Seeding Clam Flats in Winthrop

Since opening in April 1999, the Cat Cove Marine Lab Clam Hatchery has produced in excess of 20 million soft-shelled, 'steamers', clam (Mya arenaria) seed. These seed clams are transported and planted on sand flats throughout Massachusetts and neighboring states. Clam seed is provided to both municipal groups and private growers for commercial and public enhancement initiatives, Clams have also been used for habitat restoration projects, in which their filtering action has contributed to improved water quality.

Within Massachusetts, NEMAC has worked with communities from Cape Ann to Cape Cod. In the North Shore of communities of Ipswich and Rowley alone, 13 acres of clams have been planted in the past five years. To date, NEMAC has supported the seeding of over 30 acres of depleted flats. Expanding beyond the North Shore, we are supplying clam seed to the South Shore, Cape Cod and the Islands, as soft-shell clams are becoming increasingly popular with shellfish growers. The production of soft-shell clams represent more than an economic resource, the filtering action of shellfish can also benefit the environment. As water quality continues to improve along our coastline, more communities will likely benefit from our efforts.

Softshell Clam Culture: Hatchery Phase, Broodstock Care through Seed Production NRAC Publication 202-2010