skip to main content | skip to footer
North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 34 Hard Clams SSR 2016

Marine Fisheries

Web Content Display Web Content Display

Hard Clam

Hard Clam — 2016

Stock Status Unknown – Little data on hard clams have been collected in North Carolina. Commercial landings are above the 10-year average. Recreational landings are unknown.

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2006-2015 – 382,008 lbs. of meat/$2,639,283

2015 Commercial Landings and Value – 414,991 lbs. of meat/$5,038,539

Average Recreational Landings 2006-2015 Not available, 2015 – Not available

Status of Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) – A state FMP was approved in 2001 by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission and Amendment 1 was approved in 2008. The management unit is considered all hard clams occurring within North Carolina coastal waters. Amendment 1 recommended that the hard clam fishery continue to harvest at current daily harvest limits, eliminate the mechanical clam harvest rotation in Pamlico Sound, institute a resting period in the northern Core Sound mechanical clam harvest area, and develop sampling programs to collect information necessary for the completion of a hard clam stock assessment. The FMP is currently under its obligatory five-year review and Amendment 2 is in development and scheduled for completion by 2017. Draft preferred management options under Amendment 2 include, remove the Pamlico Sound mechanical clam harvest areas in rule no longer in use, modify some shellfish lease provisions, add convictions for theft of shellfish from leases or franchises, and apply shading requirements in warmer months.

Research and Data Needs – Expand shellfish mapping, determine abundance estimates, and collect recreational harvest data. Stock identification, recruitment, and effects of cultch research studies are needed.

2015 Regulations The minimum size limit is 1-inch thick.

Harvest Season – Daily commercial harvest limits are no more than 6,250 clams (25 bags at 250 clams per bag) per fishing operation in any coastal fishing waters regardless of the harvest methods employed. By hand, the season is open year round. Mechanical harvest season is December 1 - March 31 and is opened by proclamation. Contact the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries for the most recent proclamation to determine which areas are open to mechanical harvest of clams. A daily harvest limit of no more than 3,750 clams (15 bags at 250 clams per bag) is allowed per commercial fishing operation in North River, Newport River, and Bogue Sound. Mechanical harvest in White Oak River, the Intracoastal Waterway of Onslow and Pender counties (Marker 65 to the BC Marker at Banks Channel), and New River are rotated on a yearly basis with maximum daily limits of 6,250 clams (25 bags at 250 clams per bag) per operation. Core Sound is divided into two areas; the northern area is open and closed every other year and the southern area is open each year, with a daily harvest limit of 5,000 clams per operation. Recreational harvest limits are 100 clams per person per day and no more than 200 clams per vessel.

Size and Age at Maturity – 1.5 inches (shell height)/1.5 years

Maximum Age – 45 years

Juvenile Abundance Index– Not available

Habits and Habitats – Hard clams are mostly estuarine-dependent mollusks found in sandy and vegetated bottoms. Spawning occurs from May through November when water temperatures reach between 68 degrees and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The larvae go through several pelagic stages before settling onto a suitable substrate. During the juvenile stages, hard clams tend to be dominantly male and then become either male or female as they mature into adults. Maturity is determined by size and therefore dependent on growth. Growth rates are highly variable because of temperature, food availability, and genetic disposition. Hard clams are suspension-feeding bivalves and feed on diatoms.

For more information, please contact Jeffrey Dobbs at Jeffrey.Dobbs@ncdenr.gov or 800-682-2632 or 252-808-8193.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

NC logo

38337 FEEDBACK

Your input is valuable to us. Please send us your feedback.

What type of feedback would you like to send?*

Ask a Question Report a Problem Have a Concern Make a Comment

(If you would like us to respond please include your phone or e-mail.)

Your Question has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Problem has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Concern has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Comment has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

*If you are a DENR employee with an I.T. issue, please submit a DOTS ticket.