From:                              The Nature Conservancy []

Sent:                               Wednesday, March 28, 2012 12:02 PM

To:                                   Robert Brumbaugh

Subject:                          Shellfish Clamor - March 2012




Hard Clams in Great South Bay: Incorporating People and Traditions into Restoration Goals

Sustainably Co-managing Coastal Resources: The Chilean Valdivian Seascape Model

Upcoming Events

Oyster Restoration Resources and Publications

Shellfish Restoration Network
Native shellfish play vital ecological roles in many estuaries, but are imperiled in many estuaries by habitat loss, over fishing, and pollution. Through a Shellfish Restoration Network, The Nature Conservancy and its partners are working to improve the design and implementation of restoration projects that help to illustrate the ecosystem services that shellfish provide. Through this network, we also hope to demonstrate the elements necessary to expand restoration and conservation to ecosystem scales.


To Join the Network, contact:
Rob Brumbaugh
Restoration Program Director
The Nature Conservancy, Global Marine Initiative or


 March 2012
 Distributed by The Nature Conservancy's Global Marine Initiative

Hard Clams in Great South Bay: Incorporating People and Traditions into Restoration Goals


The abundance and distribution of wild-born juvenile clams are an important success measure.
© Stark 2011

The conservation action plans that were developed in 2003 to 2004 identified the restoration of hard clams (i.e. northern quahog) as an important step in improving the health and integrity of the Great South Bay ecosystem, a priority area for TNC in Long Island. Our belief was that restoration of the once abundant clams would not only restore important ecosystem services, but also that the actions needed to restore conditions favorable to hard clams would also benefit other critical species and habitats, including eelgrass meadows. Since that time, TNC has advanced its on-the-ground restoration, as well as research, monitoring, communications, and policy actions to achieve this goal.

By September 2004, we had protected a vast area of the bay by purchasing 13,423 acres of privately owned submerged lands and prohibiting all shellfishing there. Since then, we have been addressing recruitment limiting conditions in the central bay by establishing a network of 100 “spawner sanctuaries” stocked with over 5 million adult clams covering over 70 acres. We are working with local governments to improve the success of municipal hatchery-based fishery enhancement efforts, and we worked with fishermen and regulators to help rebuild a fish population that controls shellfish predators. In 2008, bay-wide shellfish surveys indicated that hard clam recruitment had increased by over 4,000%, with densities above 5 clams/m2 in 5,000 acres near and adjacent to TNC’s spawner sanctuaries - far exceeding expectations. As news spread, there was a renewed interest in clam harvesting on the publically managed portion of the bay, highlighting the need to assure that, unlike the past, future harvest was sustainable.

Thus, in an effort to protect public and private investments, a working group was created to develop harvest management and enforcement plans that were consistent with the long-term restoration objectives. This was done in two phases. In 2009-10, interim management measures were recommended and adopted. Because adoption into town codes proved to be controversial, a more inclusive public process was employed for the development of long-term recommendations. Professionally facilitated public involvement greatly influenced the final work products and recommendations. These were completed at the end of 2011 (see TNC’s Long Island Chapter is currently working to ensure that programmatic and policy recommendations are adopted by appropriate agencies. This experience emphasized the importance of focusing not only on ecological goals and measures, but also on cultural and recreational values of the surrounding communities. For example, including a fair and transparent sustainable harvest management plan for traditionally important species is critical for long-term success of most shellfish restoration programs. For further information, contact Carl Lobue.

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Sustainably Co-managing Coastal Resources: The Chilean Valdivian Seascape Model

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Valdivia Artisanal Turf fishermen© Layla Osman, TNC

Chile has been a global leader in developing co-management approaches for nearshore species since the early 1990s. After an overfishing crisis led to critical closures, the Territorial Use Rights for Fishing (TURF) program or AMERB (in Spanish) was enacted. Chile now has some 800 separate TURFs and 45,000 artisanal fishermen, and each TURF involves a spatial allocation of coastline and adoption of a community-based catch-share agreement. This is the largest co-management program in the world and provides secure access to shellfish resources for groups of artisanal fishermen. Many of the TURFs focus on managing the harvest of mollusks, include the loco or Chilean abalone, the country’s most economically important mollusk. The five miles of waters adjacent the Chilean coast where TURFs exist is an area of regional and global ecological importance. It is the most productive swath of coastal waters anywhere in the world, sustained by the powerful upwelling of the Humboldt Current (mean 3.5g C m2 d-1; maximum 9g C m2 d-1).

TNC’s Valdivian Coastal Reserve (VCR) comprised of 50,000 hectares of coastal temperate rainforest in southern Chile, is adjacent to 17 TURFs managed by 10 fishermen unions. The Chaihuin Fishermen´s Union, made up of 34 families, oversees three TURFs within estuarine and open rocky coast areas. Over a decade ago, a locally important mussel shellfishery had collapsed, largely from overfishing by the community and pollution. Recognizing their role in the collapse, the community took the initiative to sustainably manage this resource and instituted a system of catch shares that provides exclusive user rights for the mussel fishery. Within a section of the 15 hectare estuary, there is a 5 hectare bank of mussels that the families have set aside as a spawner sanctuary. This designation is in recognition of the mussel bank’s central role in sustaining the fishery over time. The mussels in the remainder of the estuary are divided among the 34 families and they have a per-family harvest limit of 240-500 kilograms per month in summer/winter months. Although the harvest from the estuary is not enough to fully support each family, they recognize that the harvest limits and spawner sanctuary are critical for the stability of their mussel resource – and key to their families’ future livelihood. The approach holds great promise as a tool for improving management elsewhere. In fact, TNC is using a similar approach to restoring clams in Great South Bay, in New York, where a large underwater preserve is stocked and managed specifically to increase the reproduction of clams for the entire bay.

There are exciting parallels and lessons from the Humboldt Current Project that have clear application in many places around the world. The Chilean TURF model has proven successful, but it still faces several challenges, including lack of environmental considerations, high operational costs, market constraints, and weak governance. TNC`s Humboldt Current Project is partnering with academic institutions and local fishing associations to demonstrate how proper design, restoration and market incentives can improve the ecological and economic performance of the fisheries. The Valdivian Seascape Model, lead by Dr. Layla Osman, expects to export these methods to other regions of Chile, Peru and other countries of the South Pacific, where ‘open access’ is still the de facto management regime of coastal fisheries. For more information, contact Dr. Layla Osman.

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Upcoming Events and Conferences

National Shellfisheries Association (NSA) 104th Annual Conference
March 25-29, 2012
Seattle, WA 

Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE)
6th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration
October 22-27, 2012
Tampa, FL
Conference Theme: "Restoring Ecosystems, Strengthening Communities" 

Note:  If you would like to contribute an article or submit items for the "Looking Ahead" section, please contact Rob Brumbaugh.

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Oyster Restoration Publications and Resources

Oyster Restoration Working Group Research and Reports

The Practitioner’s Guide to Shellfish Restoration: An Ecosystem Services Approach, as well as back issues of the Shellfish Restoration Clamor are available online.

Oyster Restoration Publications and past issues of the CLAMOR 

Cool Video!
Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration

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