Vital surf clam harvesting grounds closed by New England Fisheries Management Council

NEWPORT, RI — Clamming captains, business-owners and attorneys huddled in the lobby of the Viking Hotel on Tuesday sharing disbelief and despair over a decision by the New England Fisheries Management Council that will close vital harvesting grounds.

“A lot of these guys are going to go out of business,” owner and president of Nantucket Sound Seafood LLC Al Rencurrel said. “Obviously the economic impact, they didn’t view that, did they?”

Heading into the meeting, the surf clam industry hoped for the approval of “Alternative 2,” which would continue an exemption in its fishing areas but would modify boundaries including seasonal areas. It also called for increased monitoring with 5-minute vessel monitoring system to locate where the vessels are fishing. The clam industry would also fund a research project that NOAA would undertake to examine the habitat.

That funding money is now debatable on whether the industry can afford to provide it.

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