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Research & Monitoring

Status & Trends

LISS Ecosystem Targets and Supporting Indicators

Shellfish Harvested

Increase the harvest of oysters, clams, and scallops in the Sound through a combination of habitat management and shellfish aquaculture.

( Click labels in legend to hide data and adjust scale )
Progress

While current New York data is available, Connecticut harvest data has not been available since 2010. Efforts are underway to report current harvest data.

Shellfish Harvested (NY)
YearOysters (bushels)Clams (bushels)Scallops (bushels)Total (bushels)
1990106,36467,5100173,874
1991111,13167,0480178,179
1992117,83368,7920186,625
199374,81774,7800149,597
199416,80380,528597,336
199546,463106,3970152,860
199694,796102,8730197,669
199769,538120,556785190,879
199830,59592,7780123,373
19998,426109,5660117,992
200018,47976,903095,382
200131,40060,809092,209
200264,91752,9820117,899
200358,65375,0720133,725
200446,66477,3220123,986
200527,63694,78916122,441
200615,412102,3180117,730
200733,822115,7900149,612
200839,090104,1510143,241
200915,42193,5230108,944
201020,62977,462098,091
201122,07566,034088,109
201224,97190,8810115,852
201355,788156,760204212,752
2014118,461154,2050272,666
201556517138,5660213,591
201630,279155,3380185,617
201718,671122,5700141,241
Shellfish Harvested (CT)
YearOysters (bags)Clams (bags)Scallops (bags)Total (bags)
1990380,000146,250
1991540,390154,026
1992893,964146,733
1993700,882157,735
1994705,542192,891
1995751,87652,257
1996525,80952,423
1997196,293241,768
1998179,562128,544
1999170,000130,000
200081,015335,084
200156,325281,811
200232,035286,237
200336,288336,502
200424,116403,698
200523,041420,529
200652,851422,670
2007132,933489,648
2008161,305564,464
2009187,096489,294
2010220,100425,294
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
Economic Value
YearOysters (CT)Oysters (NY)Clams (CT)Clams (NY)
1990 $22,648,802 $4,040,142$3,545,616 $5,108,563
1991 $26,718,000$2,726,272$3,827,000$4,782,163
1992$45,000,000 $3,114,321$4,402,000$4,828,004
1993$42,052,920 $2,195,984$6,309,400 $5,528,861
1994 $35,254,916 $766,083$7,549,960 $6,088,885
1995$41,353,180$1,661,027 $1,306,425$9,797,528
1996$28,919,495 $3,412,656$1,310,575$7,859,533
1997$5,103,618$2,420,786$8,667,648 $9,596,000
1998$8,978,090$1,319,903$5,105,760 $8,434,128
1999$1,050,000$367,201$6,500,000$8,654,606
2000 $4,839,468$1,215,086$9,415,356 $6,973,345
2001$3,244,510$2,067,914$9,929,575$5,392,530
2002$3,012,161$4,524,130$9,202,241$5,123,159
2003 $2,258,660$4,028,272$10,469,996 $7,174,873
2004$1,356,310$3,178,447$10,690,175 $7,358,698
2005$953,050$1,853,668$16,120,029 $8,977,323
2006$2,205,740 $999,216$18,135,291$9,139,395
2007 $5,142,099$2,265,203$20,530,982$10,368,370
2008$6,380,933 $2,610,430$24,125,959$9,305,892
2009 $6,984,640$1,428,015 $18,000,000$8,396,995
2010 $8,010,682$1,650,587$17,405,284$4,974,044
2011$1,545,262 $4,359,916
2012$1,747,991$6,693,675
2013$3,570,461$11,431,801
2014$8,292,270$10,599,026
2015 $4541304$10,529,243
2016$17,952,798$2,196,800$11,313,066$10,677,143
2017$1,493,346$7,974,302

Status and Trends

The hard clam harvest more than tripled in Connecticut in the first decade of the 21st century, in part because some lobster fishermen have turned to clamming as lobster harvests have declined. In New York, clam production increased by more than 70 percent from 2012 to 2013.

There were likely many factors involved in the increase, including increased aquaculture production, and the reopening of shellfish beds in outer North Hempstead Harbor after a concerted local, state, and federal effort to improve water quality.

From 2014 to 2015, hard clam harvest from station NS2 (Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor) increased due to an increase in aquaculture landings. There was also an increase in harvest from Western Long Island Sound (station LS1), but the cause is unknown.

Oystering saw a resurgence in the 1980s and 1990s due to successful oyster culture practices.  However, the large commercial oyster industry peaked in 1992 and declined mainly due to MSX, a parasitic disease.

Oyster harvests began to rebound in 2006. In Connecticut this was due in part to efforts to restore and protect oyster habitats.  From 2011-2015, Connecticut counts were not available (see data note), but in 2016, resource managers once again began receiving harvest numbers reported from Connecticut shell-fishers.

From 2012 to 2014, New York’s oyster harvest increased by more than 370 percent, in part due to increased aquaculture production. There were also increased harvests by baymen in Huntington/Northport Bays (station NS3), and Western Long Island Sound (station LS1). However, from 2014 to 2015, there was a decrease in oyster harvest, most likely due to a decrease in aquaculture harvest since they were unable to compete with the large numbers of wild oysters being sold for less.

Challenges

Specific goals and time frames for this target will be developed after considering shellfish management plans under development such as the Connecticut statewide plan. This target relies on accurate reporting of harvest from shellfishers to the states. Connecticut has lacked sufficient data on shellfish harvest since 2010.

How is This Target Measured?

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the Connecticut Bureau of Aquaculture track the weight (by bags or bushel) and economic value of oysters, clams, and scallops commercially harvested each year.

Importance

The filter-feeding capacity of shellfish can help keep near shore waters clean by controlling phytoplankton abundance in the water column. 

The annual harvest numbers for oysters, clams, and scallops is an indicator of both abundance as well as the socioeconomic importance of these species to Long Island Sound.  Since harvest is only allowed in approved waters, this target is also an indirect reflection of water quality in the near shore environment. This is particularly true in Connecticut where shell fishermen can only harvest on their own leased beds.

Contact

Casey Personius, NYSDEC
casey.personius@dec.ny.gov

Mark Parker, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection mark.parker@ct.gov

Source of Data

NYSDEC and CT Bureau of Aquaculture

Data Notes

  • The technical explanation on how the target was selected is found in Appendix B of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.
  • In Connecticut, the largest cultivated acreage producer failed to report harvest statistics from 2008-2010. As a result, the overall harvest growth rate was factored into the last reported figures by the company to obtain an estimate for 2009 and 2010 harvest numbers. However, no growth rate was factored for 2008 harvest numbers.
  • The CT Department of Agriculture Bureau of Aquaculture is in the process of transitioning to daily reporting of commercial shellfish landings via the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP), the principal source of dependable and timely marine fishery statistics for Atlantic coast fisheries. During the period between 2011 through 2015, no commercial shellfish landings data is available for CT.
  • There is no scallop fishery in CT.
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