As the wild-harvest shellfish industry continues to combat threats of predation, ocean acidification and a rapidly changing ecosystem, one group is developing a resource that may help industry leaders and harvesters manage those changing tides. 

The Casco Bay Regional Shellfish Working Group is designing an interactive online database to support shellfish conservation and management decisions in the region. 

Challenges in the industry are creating shifts in shellfish resources, the group said in a news release. Soft-shell clam landings, historically the backbone of the state’s wild harvest industry, have been declining for decades, while quahog landings have been increasing. 

“This poses new challenges to harvesters and managers as they try to adapt,” the release said.

The database is intended to give local shellfish harvesters and others in the community the data to help manage the changing landscape. For example, according to the release, committees could use it as a resource to present landings data and historical survey data from other towns as they set conservation goals such as species diversification.

The group is launching a survey on Monday to help determine the content and format of the database. Harvesters, municipal shellfish committee members, shellfish wardens, municipal staff, researchers and any participants in shellfish management in the Casco Bay region are encouraged to complete the survey.

To fill out the survey, visit surveymonkey.com/r/ShellfishDatabaseSurvey or visit the working group’s website at tidalbayconsulting.com/cbrswg for more information.


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