State Keeps East Cook Inlet Razor Clam Fisheries Closed

The following is courtesy off the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

East Cook Inlet Sport and Personal Use Razor Clam Fisheries Will Remain Closed for 2024

(Homer) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game conducted razor clam abundance surveys at both Ninilchik and Clam Gulch beaches in April and May 2024. Preliminary results have found the abundance of adult (?80mm) clams to be below the abundance threshold required to open the fishery in both areas. This means the sport and personal use razor clam fisheries in east Cook Inlet will remain closed through the remainder of the year and in 2025 until abundance is assessed in the spring.

In the Ninilchik area, razor clam abundance was assessed at the south beach and the adult abundance was approximately 164,000 clams, which was 34% below the abundance threshold to open the limited fishery in the Ninilchik area. In the Clam Gulch area, razor clam abundance was assessed at the north beach and the adult abundance was approximately 84,000 clams, which was the lowest observed adult abundance ever for this location and well below the fishery threshold. Based on preliminary results, natural mortality of adult clams was 51% at Ninilchik and 92% at Clam Gulch. An additional 2.3% of the adult razor clam abundance on the Ninilchik south beach was harvested during the 4-day 2023 limited fishery. The causes of these high natural mortality rates remain unknown but likely include effects from habitat changes and predation. Additionally, there was below average recruitment of juvenile clams to these beaches this year, which suggests that adult abundances are not likely to improve in 2025.

“As anticipated, the number of adult clams on both beaches were not sufficient to support harvest opportunity this season,” said Lower Cook Inlet Area Management Biologist Mike Booz. “Based on the results from this year’s surveys, we are at historical low abundances and will be in a continued rebuilding period.”

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Mike Booz or Assistant Area Management Biologist Holly Dickson at (907) 235-8191.