Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. Environmental Studies Program


Loren E. McClenachan


Soft-shell clams (Mya arenaria) have historically been one of the most valuable fisheries in Maine, yet this fishery is currently at great risk due to the growing threat of invasive European green crab (Carcinus maenas) predation. Soft-shell clam management in Maine is unique in that it is co-managed at the municipal level with state and federal oversight, with some towns managing their clam flats and some managed at the state level. This research examines how the Maine soft-shell clam fishery adheres to the principles of co-management and looks to see if this management structure has the capacity to adapt to the threat of green crabs. I compare the successes of state managed and municipal managed clam flats and examine if there are strategies unique to co-management that allow certain towns to be more successful and better suited to deal with green crab predation. I find that co-managed fisheries are currently more successful, as measured by total landings, landings per area, and catch per unit effort. I find that co-managed fisheries are better prepared as measured by total human capacity.


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co-management, adaptive co-management, fisheries management, soft-shell clam, green crab, invasive species

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