Effects of immersion time, food supply and sexual maturity on the growth of soft-shell clam in Quebec



Clam harvesting has long been considered a recreational activity in Quebec, but there have been significant changes over the past decade. Today, clam harvesting is a lucrative activity that provides seasonal employment for many people in the regions of Quebec. The significant increase in U.S. demand for this resource in the last decade has prompted regional stakeholders to develop this shellfish potential. Some are interested in exploiting unexploited beds and/or investing in the development of soft-shell clam culture. However, the current status of knowledge on the biology of the soft-shell clam, and especially certain aspects of its growth, is insufficient to support the sustainable development of a clam culture industry in Quebec. Better knowledge of the effect of environmental variables on growth is essential to support commercial development and establish effective clam culture strategies in order to optimize efficiency by reducing production costs and time.

A number of studies conducted since the early 1900s have demonstrated the effect of various environmental variables on soft-shell clam (Mya arenaria) growth. However, knowledge about the processes and interactions between the various variables as well as their relative importance is still fragmentary. To date, very few studies have been carried out in the natural environment in Quebec and specifically on the North Shore and in the Lower St. Lawrence. The purpose of this project is to better document for these two regions the effect of three variables that play a key role in growth, namely: immersion time, availability of food and sexual maturity.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2005 - 2007


Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary

Principal Investigator(s)

Sylvie Brulotte
Email: sylvie.brulotte@dfo-mpo.gc.ca