CSI-Maine (Community Science Investigations in Maine) supports and reports on scientific work at the community level as towns respond to environmental and economic changes. In particular, it reports on work in Gouldsboro, Maine, where the town has initiated innovative programs that will shape the future of shellfish management and coastal infrastructure planning and investment.
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 […]
On Sunday June 13th, Mike Pinkham–the Gouldsboro shellfish warden–a group of harvesters, and I went out to the mudflats to do some conservation work. This week’s activity was collecting and removing green crabs from a local clamming area, John Small Cove. This activity was part of the harvester’s required conservation time, and I went along to see what some of this work entails and to get to know the local community a little better. In order to be eligible for a clamming license in Gouldsboro, harvesters are required to do at least 10 hours of conservation work. Some of this is done in co-management meetings, such as attending the shellfish committee meetings, but much of it is done out on the flats in events like these. Other activities include (list of activities).
Today, the Downeast Institute (DEI) hosted us for a tour of their shellfish hatchery and campus. Kyle Pepperman, the hatchery and production manager, gave us a look into how shellfish are raised in this area. He discussed the different needs that various species need, particularly looking at soft shell clams, the focus of our shellfish initiative. One of the most important rooms in the facility is where they grow the algae to feed the shellfish. It has rows and rows of big cylindrical glass tanks of different colors, making the room look somewhat otherworldly and rainbow-esque. This magical looking algae is then dripped through pipes in the floor, down to the tanks and tanks of shellfish below.
On Sunday, June 6, fifty people came down to the clam flat at the top of Prospect Harbor to learn more about what is going on, other than clam harvesting, when they see a group of people out on a clam flat with nets, buckets, boxes, and other gear. People from the Prospect Harbor neighborhood were joined by folks from elsewhere in Gouldsboro as well as people who drove from Sullivan, Franklin, and other communities. They learned that soft shell clams are under increasing predatory pressure from green crabs who are now able to survive the winters in greater numbers because winters have been getting warmer. They also learned that Gouldsboro, like some other communities, uses nets that the shellfish committee puts over “clam seed” (small, 1-year old clams that the town puts out on the flats) to protect young clams from the crabs. The tide was out that afternoon, which meant that visitors could have a look at the nets and at the clam holes underneath the nets that the clams use when they extend their siphons up into the water for feeding.
Work on the shellfish lab is finally starting! This is a picture of the lab entrance. We want you to know that renovation plans include replacing the pallet with stairs! On January 27, three of us got together inside the lab-to-be to make a list of materials to begin turning what was a clam buying station into a shellfish lab. I took pictures so you could come on inside, take a look, and join us in envisioning what the lab can be.
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