Some razor clam fisheries closed as population struggles

NCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Razor clam fisheries in parts of the Cook Inlet area will remain closed for sport and personal use this year, continuing a years-long trend of closures as the clam population has struggled to regain numbers.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says eastern Cook Inlet beaches from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit are closed to clamming through the end of 2022, Anchorage TV station KTUU reported.

The department in a statement said surveys completed at Ninilchik and Clam Gulch beaches this month and last showed numbers below the threshold required to allow for limited clamming. The department said the abundance of adult razor clams at Ninilchik was 64% below where it needed to be to allow for public clamming, while the Clam Gulch population was 17% below.

Razor clam fisheries closures on the eastern side of Cook Inlet date to 2015.

State biologists and Fish and Game officials have struggled to explain what is causing the low numbers but officials have pointed to a November 2010 winter storm as playing a role. The storm turned up hundreds of thousands of clams along the shores, worsening a trend of declining populations in the area.