A beach on the eastern side of Cook Inlet is photographed at Clam Gulch, Alaska, in June 2019. (Photo Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

A beach on the eastern side of Cook Inlet is photographed at Clam Gulch, Alaska, in June 2019. (Photo Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

High clam mortality rate forces closure on east Cook Inlet next year

The closure prohibits harvesting any clam species from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced it is closing all east Cook Inlet beaches to sport clamming next year.

The beaches will be closed from 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2022 through 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2022 to allow adult razor clam abundances to continue to rebuild.

The closure prohibits harvesting any clam species from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit, the department stated in a press release.

An approximate 69% of adult razor clams at Ninilchik beaches and 84% at Clam Gulch beaches have died.

The department said the cause of the high natural mortality rate of the clams remains unknown, but may be due to a combination of heavy surf, habitat changes, environmental stressor and predation.

In addition, an emergency order was issued on Dec. 20 that closed all east Cook Inlet beaches to personal use clamming in 2022.

A proposal to discuss the management plan for the east Cook Inlet razor clams will be discussed at the state shellfish meeting from March 11-18, 2022 in Anchorage.

For more information contact the ADF&G at 907-235-8191.

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

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