How big should a clam get? Maine eyes new harvest rules

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Lawmakers in Maine will consider a proposal designed to boost the state’s sagging clam harvest, but clammers and conservationists are already divided about the idea.

Maine is the country’s leading producer of soft-shell clams, which are used to make New England staples such as fried clams and clam chowder. The harvest has dwindled in recent years, and the nationwide haul for 2017 and ’18 was the lowest for any two-year period in more than 60 years.

The Maine Legislature is set to consider a bill that would allow municipalities to establish their own minimum and maximum size limits for shellfish. Proponents say that would allow towns to set stricter parameters than the state’s minimum of two inches.

Skeptics cite concerns including the piecemeal approach of applying town-by-town regulations.

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