Aquaculture North America

Project seen transformative for hard clam industry in US east coast

March 18, 2020
By Liza Mayer

The project will give hard clam growers access to strains tolerant to specific barriers in their geographic region Credit: Tyler Sizemore, Greenwich Time

A collaborative research effort in the US east coast aims to produce robust quahog stocks through selective breeding to enhance the success of clam farming in the region.

This $1.2-million initiative will enable the breeding of clam stocks that better resist disease and harsh environmental conditions for the benefit of clam farmers in New York State and throughout the region, said the project’s lead researcher, Dr Bassem Allam, of Stony Brook University.

“This will allow us to complete the sequencing of the hard clam genome and to develop innovative genomic selection tools to improve breeding of that species for aquaculture and restoration activities,” Allam said.

The quahog clam is an economically valuable marine resource extensively cultivated in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.

At the completion of the project, growers will ultimately have access to strains that can tolerate specific barriers in their geographic region to boost production. “This research will transform the hard clam industry along the entire East Coast, and our Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension partners are eager to transfer this knowledge to the industry and managers in future years,” said NYSG fisheries specialist Antoinette Clemetson.

Shellfish biologists and geneticists and Extension specialists from NYSG, Cornell University, Rutgers University, Stony Brook University, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, and industry partners in the five states are part of the initiative.

The collaborative effort involves shellfish biologists and geneticists, Sea Grant and Cornell Cooperative Extension specialists, and industry partners located in the five states where there is significant hard clam aquaculture.

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