Since I live in Ipswich and I enjoy steamer clams and the outdoors, it was easy for me to pick up clamming as a hobby. I went out earlier this month with some friends to Eagle Hill Cove in Ipswich. Pictured in the photos are Curtis Hermann (middle photo) and Marc Rogers.
When searching for soft shell clams, or steamers, all you need is a clam fork, basket, two-inch gauge, and shellfish permit from a coastal town. There is technique involved.
Begin by looking for holes in tidal flat areas and use the clam fork to dig down deep enough to get the clams. You need to start digging in an area about one or two feet in front of where you see clam holes, then dig forward about five or six inches at a time, until you have dug as deep as you can. Once you have dug a trench up to the area where you know the clams are present, be careful to dig a few inches behind the clam holes and straight down to avoid crushing the shells. You should then dig forward or sideways from your dug out area toward areas where you see more clam holes. Sounds simple, but it helps to go with someone who knows how your first time.
My ten year-old daughter is strong enough to dig for soft shell clams on her own with a small fork. Kids enjoy trying to dig, helping to measure the clams, and hunting for clams, sea worms and crabs.
Harvesting blue mussels is much easier – as simple as finding rocky areas along the coast and removing the mussels by hand and placing them in a bucket. My kids enjoy filling their buckets with mussels while exploring tidal pools looking for different species of crabs, sea stars, periwinkles, snails, and other sea creatures.
When you buy your shellfish permit, you will be given a map and instructions about how to make sure that shellfish areas are open before you go. In Ipswich, one phone call to a recorded message hotline lets you know if areas are closed. (Some shellfish areas close periodically due to bacterial pollution after significant rainfalls or due to red tide). Information about recreational shellfish regulations.
Enjoy Massachusetts’ shellfish resources!
The Turtles are Coming posted on Aug 29
With a migration pattern that stretches thousands of miles, it is no surprise that Massachusetts is home to four types of turtles during the summer, all of them protected by local and international law. And while you probably know that sea turtles often frequent the Massachusetts beaches, can you identify them?
2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: August posted on Aug 25
Augusts’ Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was Cara Peterson, who photographed a high tunnel greenhouse at Flats Mentor Farm in Lancaster.
Not From Around Here: Green Crabs posted on Aug 22
As part of its work to assess salt marsh health, staff from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) have frequently observed abundant green crabs, often burrowing in the banks of marsh creeks. This summer, CZM is examining the potential impacts of green crabs in salt marsh habitats, including the impact of burrowing activity.