Wild clammers looking to bounce back in 2018 and beyond
Wild clam suppliers have faced a series of difficulties over the years, ranging from an aging fleet to troublesome weather patterns. However, things are looking up heading into 2018, according to a panel presenting at the National Fisheries Institute’s Global Seafood Market Conference (GSMC) in Miami, Florida this week.
“Weather patterns due to climate change and a very active hurricane season in the Atlantic prevented necessary inventory building in 2017,” one panelist recalled of the hardships that came to a head for wild clam suppliers last year.
Much of the clamming fleet was dockside from 20 December to 9 January, and inventory levels could be characterized as “serviceable at best” during the first three quarters of 2017, “with negative inventory levels in the fourth quarter causing some shortages,” the panelist added.
While weather will continue to dictate supply moving forward, major clamming fleet renovations are in the works for the coming year – a bright spot for the sector, the panel said. More cooperative science to better understand what climate change is doing to the surf clam and ocean quahog will be pursued in 2018, according to the panel.
Looking further ahead, potential area closures on Nantucket Shoals are projected for 2019, according to the panel.