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ANCHORAGE (AP) — Clamming will not be permitted again in 2018 on Cook Inlet’s east side beaches.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Friday announced the closure on the stretch from the tip of the Homer Spit to the Kenai River mouth, the Peninsula Clarion reported .
The closure begins Jan. 1 at 12:01 a.m. and will continue through the end of the year. It marks the fourth year in a row there will be no clamming in the area.
Researchers will continue to look into the high mortality and low recruitment that have kept the number of mature clams on the Ninilchik and Clam Gulch beaches “at historically low levels” since 2014, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said.
A 2015 Fish and Game survey found Ninilchik clam abundance was 80 percent less than the previous 22-year average, and Clam Gulch clams numbers were 94 percent less abundant than the 10-year average.
“Cause of the decline in razor clam abundance remains unknown but may include a combination of heavy surf, habitat changes, environmental stressors and predation,” the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announcement stated.
The department does regular dig surveys for razor clams on both the east and west sides of Cook Inlet. On the west side, where there are few residents and access is by boat or small float plane only, the razor clam populations are doing well, said Mike Booz, a fisheries biologist with Fish and Game’s Division of Sportfish in Homer.
Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, http://www.peninsulaclarion.com