Clammers: Crab threat needs action

FREEPORT – Local clammers say they are encouraged that Gov. Paul LePage has established a task force to study the devastating impact that the European green crab is having on the shellfish fishery.
 
But, said Sara Randall, a consultant for the Freeport-based Maine Clammers Association, studies such as the ongoing effort in Freeport are fine, but the time for action is at hand. The Maine Clammers Association wants a regional shellfish commissioner to lead the fight head-on in Casco Bay communities, and soon.
 
The Freeport Shellfish Commission will meet with the clammers at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 13, at the Freeport Community Center, and the topic of a regional commissioner will be front and center. Randall said that she will present to the commission the advantages of having a regional officer, who would be paid by each participating community.
 
Randall said that Chad Coffin, president of the clammers association, has contacted clammers in surrounding towns such as Brunswick, Yarmouth and Harpswell.
 
“Hopefully, there’s going to be some marshaling of resources,” Randall said. “We’re still trying to find out the best way of netting and fencing (the crabs). That’s what it’s going to have to take. It’s not going to be enough to just say, ‘Let’s study it.’ We have to get on this problem. We’ve already lost our biodiversity. The green crabs have eaten their way through our ecosystem.”
 
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