On Sunday, July 30th, Gouldsboro Shore welcomed community members to a clam-centered Schoodic Arts event in Prospect Harbor’s Methodist Church. The purpose of the event was to meet, eat, and learn about the famed soft-shell clams, including how they are harvested and what the town is doing to ensure the continuation of this fishery. Twenty-seven people came to the event, with twelve volunteers to staff various stations.

Vicki Rea met folks at the welcome table as they entered the building. They received a clam bag, complete with “The Maine Shellfish Handbook”, a clam-themed word cross, cookbook and more. Then they were directed towards cups of clam chowder and clam dip made by Chantal Jennings. Dale Church had steamed clams with melted butter to bring a full variety of clam-consumption opportunities.

Three people stand together, eating steamed clams and talking.
Community members talk while snacking on steamed clams. Photo by Brett Binns.

The next station was manned by Sarah Hooper, a middle-school science teacher at Sumner. She discussed Gouldsboro Shore’s interactions with her students, one of which was a field trip earlier this year to survey green crabs in Prospect Harbor.

One big factor when growing clams is crabs- the green ones, that is. Warming waters have caused the crab population to skyrocket. Unfortunately, these crabs are major predators of soft-shell clams. So, along with learning how to grow clams, Gouldsboro Shore has had to figure out how to prevent green crabs from killing the baby clams. High school senior Teddy Dickson-Smith worked with his grandmother & Gouldsboro Shore volunteer Elin Poneman to set up a table explaining this activity. The table included Elin’s seafood stew made with green-crab broth, a tank display of green crabs, and diagrams of a crab’s lifecycle.

Pauline Angione led a table on Shore Access, another important and vulnerable part of clamming. For ages, the unspoken rule in small fishing towns has been to allow clammers to pass quietly and respectfully over private property. However, as shorefront properties go up for sale, diggers have lost access to valuable mudflats. Pauline talked about this problem with visitors and described how the shellfish committee and warden can help mediate problems or misunderstandings.

Intern Ada Fisher has been doing research on ways for private property owners to deal with shorefront erosion, a third big issue for Gouldsboro Shore. On Sunday, she set up a table with what she found. Resources included a digital map tool to support decision-making on living shorelines, an extensive planting guide for shorefront properties, and a handout describing what living shorelines are and where to find them. A living shoreline is a solution to shoreline erosion that involves stabilizing an area by growing appropriate plants along the shore.

Two people stand together talking. They are standing in a room with crab graphics and posters.
Intern Ada Fisher and friend Teddy Dickson-Smith work on setting up for the event. Photo by Pauline Angione.

The last table was manned by Mike Pinkham, Gouldsboro’s Shellfish Warden and staff liaison to Gouldsboro Shore. He explained the latest work at the clam lab, including a new pump and this season’s baby clams! He also talked about trapping crabs. He, along with other Gouldsboro Shore volunteers, has been catching green crabs in an attempt to make a small dent in the booming population.

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