Fish board to take up Cook Inlet clams

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Wednesday, March 18, 2015 11:01pm
  • News
In this May 18, 2014 file photo Ted Nichols, 12, of Chugiak, goes digging for clams at the Whiskey Gulch beach access in Anchor Point, Alaska. Alaska's Board of Fisheries took up several proposed regulatory changes to Cook Inlet razor clam fisheries.

In this May 18, 2014 file photo Ted Nichols, 12, of Chugiak, goes digging for clams at the Whiskey Gulch beach access in Anchor Point, Alaska. Alaska's Board of Fisheries took up several proposed regulatory changes to Cook Inlet razor clam fisheries.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the clam harvest numbers on Kenai Peninsula beaches from 2004-2013.

Cook Inlet clams on are on the Alaska Board of Fisheries’ plate as residents seek to manage a razor clam population that has crashed on the eastern side of the inlet and a fishery that has exploded in popularity on the western side.

The board will consider five proposals, including two which seek to reduce the personal use limit for razor clams on the eastern side of the Cook Inlet, one that would reduce the sport limit for razor clams in the same area, one that would close east side beaches to all razor clam harvest and one that would establish a personal use bag limit for razor clams on the west side of the inlet.

The east side clamming beaches, which stretch for about 50 miles between the Anchor River and the Kasilof River, were at one point the most popular fishery for clams in the Cook Inlet. According to Fish and Game managers clammers harvested an average of 391,185 clams per year in the fishery from 2004-2013.

However, the razor clam population has seen a precipitous decline in recent years. Fish and Game managers estimated that current average razor clam numbers are 80 percent lower than averages recorded between 1990 and 2012. In response managers closed clamming on the east shore — from the mouth of the Kenai river to the southern end of the Homer Spit — during the 2015 season.

As the east side beaches have declined, traffic on the west side clam beaches of the Cook Inlet has increased.

Rusty Roessler, of Pacific Alaska Shellfish, told board members that he has been harvesting clams commercially on the same nine miles of beach for 30 years.

“Previously, there was a little bit of sport guys coming over, it didn’t seem to affect the fisheries that much,” he said. “But as you’ve seen the east side has been closed down and we’re just seeing an increasing number going over there.”

There are no personal use bag and possession limits for West Cook Inlet and the board will consider a proposal to implement a harvest limit of 60 clams per day and 120 clams in possession.

The Board of Fisheries meeting will convene at 8 a.m. Thursday and can be streamed live at bit.ly/boardoffisheries.

More in News

Assembly President Brent Johnson asks questions of representatives of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District during a joint work session of the School Board and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough to enter contract for asbestos flooring abatement in 3 central peninsula schools

The work will be done at Kenai Central High, Kenai Alternative High and Sterling Elementary schools

Alaska State Troopers logo.
1 dead, 3 missing after boat capsizes near Seward

Alaska State Troopers were notified by the U.S. Coast Guard of an overturned vessel around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday

Kenai Central High School stands under clear skies in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough approves contract for KCHS parking lot rehabilitation

Soldotna-based Foster Construction will be awarded the bid of $648,997 to complete the project

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital to host Cancer Survivor’s Day event

The event will take place Sunday, June 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks to the joint Soldotna and Kenai chambers of commerce at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Carpenter gives wrap up on session as he nears end of House term

Carpenter is seeking election to state Senate District D

(from left to right) Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Photo provided by Mattea Peters-Williamson
Ninilchik graduates 5 in 2024 commencement

The school held the ceremony Monday, May 13

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee adjourns

The committee will deliver recommendations to school board in July

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out corroded insulation outside of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Soldotna . (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elementary awaits action on approved bond

Almost two years after public OKs bond, borough asking for more time

Most Read