"Steamers Out Of Steam? Beloved Bivalves Aren’t Happy Clams"

"SCARBOROUGH, Maine — The soft-shell clams that are harvested by hand and raked from the mud flats of Maine are becoming less plentiful, and the downward trend jeopardizes one of New England’s oldest and most historic coastal industries.

Maine is the soft-shell clam capital of the country. But clammers harvested less than 1.5 million (0.68 million kilograms) pounds last year, the lowest total in a quarter century — down from nearly 8 million pounds (3.6 million kilograms) at the industry’s height in the late 1970s.

The clamming industry was once second only to lobsters in value among Maine fisheries. And clams are steeped in Maine lore, playing a role in Robert McCloskey’s 1953 picture book “One Morning in Maine” and serving as the focal point of the Yarmouth Clam Festival that has welcomed thousands of people to the coast for more than 50 years."

Patrick Whittle reports for the Associated Press July 4, 2017.

Source: AP, 07/05/2017