Blue Ocean Institute


Species is relatively abundant, and fishing methods cause little damage to habitat and other wildlife.
Clam, Soft-shell

Soft-Shell Clams are found in intertidal mud flats throughout much of the North Atlantic Ocean, and in the US are most abundant in Maine. They reach maturity in one year and usually live about 10 – 12 years.

The abundance of Soft-Shell Clams in Maine is unknown, but recently landings or the amount collected has slightly increased. There is a statewide size limit of 2 inches for Soft-shell Clams with fisheries management delegated to individual municipalities. Management measures include limiting the number of permits issued, area closures, and re-seeding mud flats. Soft-Shell Clams can only be taken commercially by hand devices called clam rakes that cause minimal habitat damage and result in very little bycatch.

In Casco Bay, Maine, 25% of flats have been permanently closed due to pollution, which is particularly concerning in the face of increasing coastal development.

Full species report here.