ClamsManila Clam

Details

  • Latin name: 
    Tapes philippinarum (also Ruditapes or Venerupis)
  • Seafood type: Clams
  • Harvest method: On-bottom culture with hand harvest
  • Region: Worldwide
  • Wild/Farmed: 
    Farmed
Status: 
Ocean Wise

Clams

Credit: DFO
Sustainable alternatives: 
Farmed clams are a sustainable seafood seafood option.
Sustainability concerns: 
Wild caught Clams are harvested using dredgers that cause serious damage to other organisms that live on the seabed.
Notes/other details: 
Manila Clams were accidentally introduced to the Pacific Northwest in the 1930’s but are not considered an invasive species because they co-exist with other, local clam species.
The market for clams is primarily supplied by farming, which takes place in various regions throughout the world. Farmed Clams are a sustainable seafood option unlike their wild harvested counterpart which are often caught using habitat damaging harvest methods.
Life History and Population Status: 
Clams reproduce quickly and abundantly, and both wild and farmed varieties can support large fisheries. Clams harvested from the wild are associated with high levels of habitat damage caused by dredging. Clam aquaculture provides a sustainable alternative, with 89% of the world clam harvest being from farms. Globally, the majority of clam species are farmed in China, Malaysia, Thailand, Italy and Korea; however, the United States and Canada produce the majority of available product for the North American market.
Management: 
The management of clam aquaculture is considered effective, with a number of countries including the United States and Canada using Best Management Practices (BMPs) for shellfish aquaculture. In British Columbia, the B.C. Shellfish Growers Association has developed a set of BMPs for shellfish production. In the United States, the use of chemicals in aquaculture is highly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Information on aquaculture management for the Asian sector is limited.
Impact on Other Species: 
Bycatch in Clam Aquaculture is of minor concern. Disease transfer is not a major concern.
Habitat and Ecosystem Impacts: 
Habitat damage associated with Clam aquaculture is limited, particularly for farms that use the hand harvest method. Shellfish aquaculture causes a net reduction of nutrients in the water column, unlike other aquaculture industries that often add nutrients to the water column. The collection of spat (eggs) by hand incurs some habitat damage. Collection using dredgers can cause damage to sensitive areas of the seabed or benthic environment but recovery of the seabed is relatively quick following such a disturbance.

Notes:

  • No or little concern in this area.
  • Significant concern in this area.
  • Area under study.