Diversification of Maryland Shellfish Aquaculture: Development and Assessment of a Subtidal Grow-Out Method for Culture of Soft-Shell Clams (Mya arenaria)

Principal Investigator:

Ming Liu

Start/End Year:

2022 - 2024


Morgan State University

Co-Principal Investigator:

Brittany Wolfe-Bryant, Jon Farrington, Scott Knoche, Amanda Knobloch, Morgan State University, PEARL


Strategic focus area:

Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture


The Maryland shellfish aquaculture industry has grown rapidly in the last decade. However, the industry currently consists of only a single species, the Eastern oyster. The monoculture approach leaves the industry vulnerable to disease, climate change, and market fluctuations which pose threats to sustainable industry growth. The soft-shell clam (Mya arenaria) is a commercially important shellfish species harvested in Northeast U.S. coastal waters. This species can grow and reproduce in low salinity waters, which makes it a strong candidate species for culture in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Further, several Maryland growers have stated their interest in culturing this species. Maryland’s limited intertidal zone necessitates the development of a suitable subtidal culture for this species. In this project, project PIs will partner with shellfish growers to develop and investigate six different culture methods under three design categories with the goal of identifying a feasible and cost-effective subtidal culture method. This project has the potential to diversity Maryland shellfish aquaculture product lines and expand opportunities for existing and new shellfish farmers in Maryland.

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