Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Last week, we vacationed with my family on Old Orchard Beach in Maine. The low tide there is extensive and stretches out long and flat. One evening, while walking along the rivulets that lead out to the water, my father and I both found tiny (1-2 inch) clams floating in the water. Baby Yub Yub delighted in watching the seagulls carry them up high and drop them to break them open and eat the tender clams. Soon after we found a family digging up these huge 5 to 6 inch clams and filling their sand pails with them. They showed us how to spot the small sucking down of air in the sand that the clams make, then dig down 8 inches or so and uncover the clams. We got pretty good. This led us to wonder about clamming rules. (All the family's clams went back into the water and we covered ours back up in the sand.)

Thag chased down one of the beach patrol women on her sand jeep. She did not know any of the rules. The extent of our knowledge was that you probably need a licence and many areas are closed due to red tide or sewage overflow. However, after realizing how easy clamming is, we wanted to know more about how we could do it.

So, back home, we went online and we would like to applaud the town of Freeport for its awesome information and shellfishing hotline. They even have a shellfish warden (perhaps other towns do, too). Freeport's information was much more accessible and user friendly than the state of Maine's government site which led me to a 197 page document geared toward lawyers and commercial shellfish collectors.

What I gather is this (and I would love corrections or clarification here!): one cannot gather clams under 2 inches; there is a red tide hotline; you can gather in state parks without a licence; you are limited in the number of shellfish you can gather. I think when we return to Maine this September, we will call the town we are visiting and ask about their regulations. Perhaps wild clams are in our future...

No comments:

Post a Comment