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Surf Clams

In the marketplace, one-year-old surf clams are known as "New England Butter Clams" - a relatively new product on the market.

Farming New England Butter Clams means they can be harvested at a size in which they are tender, buttery and sweet - as well as easy and versatile to prepare. This results in an entirely different product than mature surf clams harvested from wild fisheries.


Background: Surf Clam Marketing Toolkit

Surf clam propagation has the potential to be a component of the Massachusetts shellfish aquaculture industry. Surf clam culture does already occur on Cape Cod and in MA but the supply is limited. Restaurant chefs are interested in petite surf clams, (also known as butter clams) but are reluctant to commit to putting them on menus until they know there is a steady supply.

To overcome this challenge, both supply and market need to increase at the same time. To help the shellfish aquaculture industry work towards this goal, the partners on this project hired the firm Zapalac Advisors to create a Marketing Plan for New England Butter clams.  The hope is that the talking points and suggestions for activities within this plan can assist growers with marketing their petite surf clams.  The full plan may be downloaded from the abridged "Toolkit" below.

Marine Bulletin: Growing Methods for Petite Atlantic Surf Clams

» Download PDF "Growing Methods for Petite Atlantic Surf Clams"
August 2020

Final Report:

Piloting Surf Clam Aquaculture Techniques to Create Commercial Opportunities

» Download Final Growing Techniques Report (PDF)



Abigail Archer
Fisheries and Aquaculture Specialist
Woods Hole Sea Grant and Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
P.O. Box 367
Barnstable, MA 02630
(508) 375-6702

Video: Beyond Oysters

A short video about Surf Clam growing techniques

Photo Gallery

Visit a  photo gallery highlighting  recent efforts in testing Surf Clam growing techniques.