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The man with a plan

PSI researcher, Andy Suhrbier helps shellfish growers adapt to changing ocean conditions.

New Production Technologies

Examining the impacts of mechanical harvesting tools for Manila clams.

Shellfish Aquaculture - Providing Food, Jobs and Revenue for the Region for the Past 150 years

Evaluation and Development of Advanced Farm Management and Harvesting Tools for Economically Efficient and Environmentally Sustainable Production of Manila Clams

Manila clams (Ruditapes philippinarum) are widely grown and harvested from Puget Sound and coastal estuaries in Washington State and protected embayments in British Columbia. Approximately 4,500 metric tons of Manila clams are harvested annually in Washington State, most through aquaculture. While most Manila clams are sold domestically within the U.S., an increasing number are being exported to meet demands in Europe. With a couple of exceptions, all farm-reared Manila clams in Washington are grown semi-intensively using open or net-protected culture systems, or net-bag culture for smaller scale production. Conventional harvest is done by hand using short-handled rakes at low tide. Although these conventional tactics will allow Manila clam aquaculture to expand, production costs are generally increasing and overseas competitors are driving profits down. A new technology for Manila clam farming is now available that could mitigate production and market risk, thereby enhancing the economic stability and growth of the industry. This technology, which uses a combination of culture methods and tools more commonly associated with land-based culture, has been successfully adapted on a small scale at two farm sites in north Puget Sound.

PSI is currently conducting research to assess the environmental effects of this new technology and to improve the technology through on-farm experiments and observations, analyses of production data, and production capacity modeling.

This research is supported through a grant from the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. Project partners include Baywater, Inc, Chuckanut Shellfish Inc., Taylor Resources, Inc., University of Washington, and Longline Environment Ltd, UK.

Summary of Project Results

Mechanical Harvestor at Work

Video: A tulip bulb harvester gets a new lease on life (Manila clam harvest in Samish Bay, WA)

New Production Technologies Photo