The Frenchman Bay Regional Shellfish Committee is working with the Frenchman Bay Partners, the Hancock County Planning Commission, the Department of Marine Resources, and regional organizations on efforts to open closed clam flats and control green crabs. Here is a summary of each project and major successes to date:
Opening closed clam flats: The groups worked together to develop the 610 Project, which seeks to build capacity for opening closed clam flats by improving communication and coordinating, identifying sources of pollution, and finding ways to fix these sources. There are currently 610 acres of closed clam flats in Frenchman Bay. We received a $7,500 grant from the Maine Community Foundation to support this work and are in the process of assessing the abundance of clams in Martin and Weir Cove and developing a watershed survey for these areas. We are also purchasing seed from the Downeast Institute to plant in the spring.
Controlling green crabs: Building from the 610 project, the Partners and the Shellfish Committee received a $6,000 grant to the Maine Community for the Green Crab Control Project. This project allows the Committee to extensively trap green crabs in select coves, measure the impact of the trapping, and also be prepared to participate in market-based solutions to this problem. Market solutions may include participating in Asian live-markets, supplying processing facilities, and providing suppliers with chitin from the shell. Check out this coverage of our project in the Bangor Daily News: http://bangordailynews.com/2014/08/14/news/hancock/fishermen-researchers-to-trap-green-crabs-in-frenchman-bay/
Success so far
- Martin and Weir Cove as initial target for opening in; developing a watershed survey to implement Spring 2015.
- Website completed
- Creating maps for watershed survey and to support shellfish committee coordination
- The Municipal Joint Board purchased a computer for the committee to use for minutes, agendas, website, and other organizational needs as grant match.
- Continue to build good relationships with DMR and towns to make progress on fixing pollution problems.
- Produced an economics report that estimates the value of mudflats in Frenchman Bay and the economic losses when flats are closed: http://www.frenchmanbaypartners.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Frenchman-Bay-Economics-Report.pdf
- Purchased 30 green crab traps (Brazier Traps and Brooks Trap Mill) and are currently analyzing data about green crab populations and on how the traps fish.
- Resolved conflict between clam and mussel harvesters around the development of the mussel harvesting ordinance.
- Created a collaborative agreement to balance mussel harvesting and eel grass restoration