(This post first appeared on the CSI-Maine website. The post was written by Sophie Chivers, the 2021 summer intern for the Shellfish Resilience project. We republish it here because it gives readers useful background about the project.)

June 30th was a big day for the shellfish lab and team–Shellfish Warden Mike Pinkham brought the first batch of clam spat back to the lab! With our team of intrepid volunteers, we set out to install our nursery trays. These clams will spend this summer and fall outside in the lobster pound enjoying local algae and (hopefully) growing into seed clams.

  • A woman spreading clams that look like tiny white pebbles onto the mesh of an open nursery tray.
  • Two men stretching black plastic over one of the 4 by 4 nursery trays
  • A man sitting on a rocky shore placing the nursery trays into the harbor.
  • In the foreground, a woman is picking up a nursery tray. In the background, a man is working with the trays in the water.
  • Two men in a skiff pulling a train of roped-together trays across smooth water and into place for the summer

The process was really fun–mostly due to our amazing team of volunteers. To make things move more quickly, we set up an assembly line. Vicki Rea and I were in charge of measuring out the correct quantity of clams (10,000 per tray!!), adding periwinkles to the trays to reduce algae growth, and spreading everyone out in their new homes. Mike and Alan Church took charge of fastening the screen to the top of the boxes. When we had everything fastened and ready, we all walked down to the pound to tie the trays together and float them out into the pound. Later Dana Rice, the owner of the building that hosts the lab, and Mike stepped out onto a skiff to tie everything down and properly set the trays. 

The little clams have been floating out there for almost 2 weeks now. We hope they are enjoying their new, floating home and that they are growing quickly for us. 

The next step for these clams is to overwinter in our indoor facility during the cooler months. Our goal is to have an operational upweller and an overwintering tank ready for the clams by the end of August. 

— By Sophie Chivers – 2021 Shellfish Intern

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