A beach on the eastern side of Cook Inlet is photographed at Clam Gulch, Alaska, in June 2019. The Alaska Board of Fisheries is implementing new shellfish regulations in Cook Inlet. (Peninsula Clarion file)

Fish and Game closes East Cook Inlet razor clam fisheries

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has closed the Cook Inlet sport and personal use razor clam fisheries for the season after conducting abundance surveys, according to a press release from the agency.

Department officials surveyed beaches in Ninilchik and Clam Gulch starting in April and continuing into this month, and found a low abundance of adult clams in both locations.

The abundance levels were lowest in the Ninilchik area at the south beach, according to the release. The adult abundance was 103,020, which was 64% below the abundance threshold to open the fishery. In the Clam Gulch management north beach area, abundance was 829,772 adult clams — 17% lower than the minimum to open the fishery.

The department has kept the East Cook Inlet razor clam sport and personal use fisheries closed by emergency order since 2015, the release states.

According to previous Clarion reporting, the abundance of mature clams was at historically low levels in 2015. Data showed that the Clam Gulch north beach area had more than 4 million clams and the south beach area had more than 6.1 million in 1999.

For more information, contact the department at 907-235-8191.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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