It is suspected that parts of Narragansett Bay act as sanctuaries for adult clam spawning, while other regions act as settlement areas for the next generation of quahogs. Both areas are important to identify for the long-term sustainability of the species.
On Tuesday, March 28, researchers Scott Rutherford (Roger Williams University) and Chris Kincaid (URI Graduate School of Oceanography) will discuss their work investigating how current flow through Narragansett Bay influences where quahog larvae go when released from a specific place, along with Conor McManus, a biologist at RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM), who will discuss how DEM is applying this research to management as part of the Coastal State Discussion Series at the Coastal Institute Auditorium from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the University of Rhode Island’s Bay campus in Narragansett. Directions
Understanding dispersal of quahogs, specifically, is of particular interest to researchers because quahogs do not move much once they settle as larvae. They may move only a couple meters in their whole lifetime. To better target their harvesting efforts, “knowing where the quahog larvae move to is incredibly important for fishermen,” says Azure Cygler, an extension specialist from Rhode Island Sea Grant.
One management strategy that has been used to a small degree in Rhode Island is to create “spawning sanctuaries” by closing off areas and prohibiting fishing where large numbers of quahogs are located. “The idea is that they maintain a population of reproductively active quahogs where they will spawn and broadcast larvae out for distribution about the Bay,” said Dr. Dale Leavitt, a biologist and aquaculture specialist at RWU working with Rutherford and Kincaid.