Clamming on eastside beaches to remain closed

  • By KAT SORENSEN Peninsula Clarion
  • Wednesday, December 26, 2018 8:22pm
  • News
An adult razor clam being prepared for transport back to the University of Alaska Fairbanks for molecular testing from Nikiski. (Photo/Courtesy/Marina Washburn)

An adult razor clam being prepared for transport back to the University of Alaska Fairbanks for molecular testing from Nikiski. (Photo/Courtesy/Marina Washburn)

There won’t be any clamming, whether sport or personal, on the Cook Inlet side of the Kenai Peninsula in 2019.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is closing all eastside beaches of the Kenai Peninsula again through all of 2019 to encourage population recovery.

“From 2009-2015, eastside Cook Inlet razor clams experienced poor recruitment of juvenile sized razor clams and a high natural mortality rate of mature sized razor clams, which both resulted in a significant decline in abundance leading to the closure of the fishery,” according to a press release from Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The closure goes from the mouth of the Kenai River to the sourthernmost tip of the Homer Spit.

Closures date back to 2014, when the razor clam population plummeted for unknown reasons. A combination of heavy surf, habitat changes, environmental stressors and predation may have played a role in the decline, according to Fish and Game.

“Eastside razor clam populations are beginning to rebuild, but uncertainties remain if it will continue into 2019,” according to the release. “Razor clam abundance surveys are scheduled for the spring of 2019 on Ninilchik and Clam Gulch beaches to assess abundance of juvenile and mature sized razor clams, recruitment to the beach and mature size, annual growth, natural mortality, and potential harvest opportunity.”

Recreational razor clamming on the west side of Cook Inlet is not affected by the closure.

Reach Kat Sorensen at ksorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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