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Clamming Ethics







Make a plan

Harvest only what you need, and know the cooking preparation for the species you intend to dig before you go out.

softshell show

Know what you’re digging

Knowing your clam shows will help assure you’re digging the species of clam intended. Experience in an area and with species is the best way to decipher the differences in shows, however our show identification page will help you get started. Depending on what type of meal you’re preparing, you’ll probably want to harvest one species of clam.

careful digging

Dig carefully

Think about your technique for digging clams. Many species are easily broken, causing a dangerous situation for your fingers and additional cleaning work. Many diggers prefer to dig close to the depth of the clam and then do the remaining work carefully with their hands.

Unbroken butter, cockle, and littleneck clams can be returned as these species have the ability to dig themselves back in. Gaper and softshell clams are incapable of adequately digging back to their needed depth once removed and therefore illegal to return.

graceful kelp crab in eelgrass

Keep off the grass

Eelgrass provides essential habitat for a number of fish and invertebrates. Avoiding areas of eelgrass is fairly easy as it tends to be patchy within clam beds. Once dug up or trampled the eelgrass can no longer provide the habitat sought by fish and invertebrates.

eelgrass bed

Look for gaps

Eelgrass beds usually have breaks where digging is easiest and best.

refilling a hole

Refill your holes

Digging clams can often require the movement of a significant amount of substrate. When piled up mud and sand can hinder the access to the surface of other clams below.  Simply pushing the material back in the hole eases the impact on the clam bed for your next trip.


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