(Homer) – All east Cook Inlet beaches remain closed to sport clamming in 2021 to allow adult razor clam abundances to continue to rebuild. The closure is effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, January 1 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, December 31, 2021. The closure prohibits the taking of any clam species from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit.
In 2020, adult razor clam abundances improved at both Ninilchik and Clam Gulch beaches but were still below their historical averages. Juvenile razor clam abundances were similar to their historical averages at Ninilchik beaches and well above-average at Clam Gulch. From 2019 to 2020, natural mortality of adult razor clams at Ninilchik beaches was approximately 70%, which resulted in a loss of over 2 million clams. The causes of this high natural mortality rate remain unknown, but may include a combination of heavy surf, habitat changes, environmental stressors, and predation. Although juvenile clam abundances remain average to above average, recruitment of new juvenile clams to the Ninilchik and Clam Gulch beaches were below average in 2020.
Razor clam abundance surveys will be conducted again in the spring of 2021 on Ninilchik and Clam Gulch beaches, which will provide estimates of adult clam abundances to assess the potential for a limited harvest opportunity,” stated Area Management Biologist Mike Booz. “Razor clams are rebuilding on these beaches but given the high rates of natural mortality and inconsistent annual recruitment, there’s uncertainty with how many clams will be on these beaches next spring.”
In conjunction with this restriction, EO 2-RCL-7-05-21 was issued December 24, 2020, and closed all east Cook Inlet beaches to personal use clamming in 2021, effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, January 1 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, December 31, 2021. The closure prohibits the taking of any clam species from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit.
This closure does not affect sport and personal use razor clam regulations on west Cook Inlet beaches.
For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Mike Booz or Assistant Area Biologist Holly Dickson at (907) 235-8191.