Kenai Peninsula shores closed to razor clamming for 8th straight year
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A dramatic drop in Cook Inlet razor clam populations over the last decade has resulted in another year of personal use and sport clamming closures.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced Monday that all eastern Cook Inlet beaches from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit are closed to clamming, both personal use and sport, in 2022. The release outlines the restrictions lasting from Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2022.
Fish and Game said in a release that adult razor clam abundance surveys completed at Ninilchik and Clam Gulch beaches in April and May of this year were below the abundance threshold required to allow limited clamming on those beaches — the department said the Ninilchik clam population taken at the time of the survey was 64% below where it needed to be to allow for public clamming, while the Clam Gulch population was 17% below where it needed to be to open.
It is the eighth straight season that the eastern side of Cook Inlet has been closed to personal use and sport clamming, dating back to the summer of 2015.
State biologists and Fish and Game officials have struggled to explain the severe downturn in clam populations along the western shores of the Kenai Peninsula, although officials have pointed to a brutal winter storm in November 2010 that played a large role. The storm turned up hundreds of thousands of adult and juvenile clams along the shores, which only worsened a trend of declining clam populations in the area since the mid-2000s.
“Unfortunately, the number of adult clams on both beaches were not sufficient to support harvest opportunity this season,” lower Cook Inlet Area Management Biologist Mike Booz said in the release.
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