Clam beds in jeopardy?
Island Ad-Vantages|11/26/2020
40 to 50 jobs could be at stake
LESLIE LANDRIGAN
Deer Isle’s clam flats could get stripped by off-island clam diggers if local harvesters don’t step up and do more to take care of them, say town officials.

Under a 1999 ordinance in both Deer Isle and Stonington, the towns may restrict clamming to local residents. Ten commercial licenses can go to locals for every one license that goes to a non-resident, according to Deer Isle Town Manager Jim Fisher.

But there’s a catch. The towns must actively manage the clam beds. That involves the clam diggers themselves, because they’re responsible for putting in conservation hours and making decisions through the joint Shellfish Conservation Committee.

Few people, though, have been attending meetings of the shellfish committee, say town officials. The committee is supposed to have five members from Deer Isle and five from Stonington, but it has lost members and now only has seven. Its duties include setting the number of clam licenses to be issued, recommending spending on conservation work and suggesting bed closings and openings, according to the ordinance.

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