The Maine Department of Marine Resources has published an updated handbook to help managers at the local and state level sustain Maine’s shellfish resources.

With a landed value of over $24 million in 2020, Maine’s shellfish resources are a critical part of Maine’s coastal economy. But changing ocean temperatures, shellfish predation, land use, and fluctuating markets pose threats to the industry, which relies on sustainable management of this resource.

The handbook, published collaboratively by the Maine Department of Marine Resources, Maine Sea Grant, and the University of Maine, updates previous guidance that focused on clams, to include information on the history and biology of northern quahog, American and European oysters, and blue mussels.

Sections on state resources to address water quality issues and predatory species have been added, as well as information about tools that municipalities can use to preserve or increase their intertidal shellfish resources.

The publication explains that management authority for soft-shell clams is shared between the state government and municipalities and provides guidance on establishing a municipal shellfish program.

The publication can be found at seagrant.umaine.edu/resource/the-maine-shellfish-handbook/ and at maine.gov/dmr/shellfish-sanitation-management/index.html.