A Living Lab

Sears Island’s clam flats are healthy and productive thanks to an ongoing clam restoration project begun in 2003. Under the guidance of Dr. Brian Beal, Professor at UMaine Machias and Director of the Downeast Institute, the Searsport Shellfish Management Committee has regularly seeded the flats with juvenile clams and monitors the overall condition of the flats all year. A license is required to dig clams – inquire at the Town Office on Union Street.

For several years juvenile clams were seeded on the flats in pots so they could been counted and measured several times during the summer and fall months, before being returned permanently to the flats “on their own”.

During one season brood clams were seeded when the optimum sized juveniles were not available. All data, including the presence of predators, has been recorded and compiled.

The Shellfish Committee members continue to monitor the flats all year to determine the health and abundance of the clams. Their 2010 projects included: an official clam population survey, working in teams with the Regional State Biologist on one of the open harvesting areas; and transferring clams from a restricted area to an open area.