Hardshell Clams (Arctic Surf clams)

Page - May 27, 2009

Greenpeace Canada Redlist

Fishery Facts

Latin Name Arctic surf clam Mactromeris polynyma.

Other Common Names Stimpson's surf clam.

Fishing Method Hydraulic dredge fishing.

Region of Harvest Arctic Seas, from Rhode Island (western Atlantic) to Alaska and Puget Sound (east Pacific). Also in Japan.

Arctic surf clams, ocean quahog
Why is it on the red list?   Biology

1. Bycatch in offshore dredge fishing includes over 200 other species of animals, including species unique to the area.

2. Hydraulic clam dredging is one of the most destructive types of fishing as the sea floor is liquidized to extract target species. The habitat effects of this fishery are severe, and there is a significant lack of information on habitat recovery.

3. Arctic surf clams are slow growing and long lived, making it potentially vulnerable to fishing pressure.

Hard shell clams such as Arctic surf clam mature around five to eight years.

Arctic surf clams are known to live for decades, often to about 40 years.

Shellfish are known to be important prey for commercial groundfish species such as halibut and cod.

All species of clams are sedentary, so fisheries can easily target populations in high density areas.