This sediment has covered many hectares of hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria) and soft clam (Mya arenaria) beds, and impacted the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) population, thereby decimating a once highly productive shellfishing region.
In addition, increased sedimentation on the bay bottom may have eliminated as mu ch as 500 ha of hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria) beds, damaged a valuable soft clam (Mya arenaria) resource, and adversely affected blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) in Little Bay and northern waters surrounding the Sedge Islands (P.
Increased deposition of sediment in Little Bay and backwaters of the Sedge Islands area from tidal currents flowing northward also has damaged many hectares of viable hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria) and soft clam (Myerenaria) beds, and impacted the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) population as well.
A list of representative benthic organisms recorded in the intertidal and subtidal habitats includes, but is not limited to, eelgrass (Zostera marina), widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima), hydromedusae (Rathkea octopunctata), grass shrimp (Palaemonetes spp.), mysid shrimp (Neomysis americana), hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria), soft clams (Mya arenaria), Atlantic ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa), blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus), and horseshoe crabs (Limulus-polyphemus).
In the eastern United States, the most important estuarine shellfishes are the American oyster, Crassostrea virginica; hard clam, Mercenaria mercenaria; soft clam, Mya arenaria; and bay scallop, Argopecten irradians.
Soft clam abundances have been substantially increased in experimental and small commercial beds in Maine and Massachusetts by using fences to exclude green crabs, Carcinus maenas.
Soft clam abundances in intertidal zones can be determined at low tide by shovelling clams within the ring into a box that has a fine screen bottom and then sieving out the clams for counting.
The technique would work well with the soft clam which grows rapidly and can be easily separated from the sand in which it lives using a sieve with a mesh size of about 2 mm.
The soft clam ranges from Maine to North Carolina (Fig.