New Documentary on Narragansett Bay Quahogs

Narragansett Bay quahogs have not only served as a cultural icon to the state, but are also a valuable commodity supporting a $5 million fishery. The Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (CFRF) has released a new documentary showcasing the value of the Rhode Island quahog and efforts of a collaborative research project to protect this important resource.

Taking Stock of Currents and Quahogs

Over 39 million clams were harvested from Narragansett Bay in 2012.

The estimates of clams in the Bay are used to set fishing limits.

In Rhode Island, shellfishermen use a bull rake for harvesting clams. The RI DEM, however, uses a hydraulic dredge to collect clams for population estimates.

Fishermen say that the dredging method of harvesting is inefficient and inaccurate, and is likely to result in unnecessary limits on the commercial fishing operations.

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To maintain the sustainability of a resource it is essential to have accurate evaluations on the abundance and distribution of a population, which is where collaborative efforts have been focused. Through this project, a team of commercial shellfishermen, managers from Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM), and scientists from Roger Williams University and the University of Rhode Island worked together collaboratively to achieve the following:

  1. Develop a cooperative assessment for quahog standing stock.
  2. Evaluate the reproductive condition of the resource in the upper Narragansett Bay.

This effort focused on quahog stock assessments comparing the efficacy of the RI DEM’s standard method (hydraulic dredge) with the commercial bullrake and diver quadrat sampling, and application of the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) Hydrodynamic Model for Narragansett Bay to simulate specific quahog larval release points (spawning areas) and predict sites of juvenile recruitment resulting from these releases. Project results are intended to inform shellfish management efforts

For more information on this and other CFRF supported projects please click here.

Related Stories:

A Day in the Life of a Quahogger

Catching Dinner: Quahogging Lessons with Jody King

Current Drifters Don’t Match Belief N.Bay Flows Counterclockwise

Taking Stock of Currents and Quahogs

The project  was supported through the CFRF’s Southern New England Collaborative Research Initiative (SNECRI), a program funded under NOAA Award #NA08NMF4720595 and made possible through efforts by U.S. Senator Jack Reed.