Technical manuals

Biology and culture of the hard clam

Manual for production of the Hard Clam. 

October 9, 2019


Hard clam aquaculture is the largest and most valuable of the shellfish aquaculture industries on the East Coast. It accounts for more than $50 million in economic value annually.

Hard clams are bivalve mollusks that live in saline (>25 parts per thousand) waters and cannot tolerate low salinities or freshwater for an extended period. Hard clams occur naturally all along the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to Florida. They have been introduced along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Yucatan, as well as along the West Coast of the United States, in the British Isles, and in parts of France. The distribution of hard clams is determined by hydrodynamic factors and, possibly, sediment types and depth. Sediment characteristics affect the number and types of both invertebrates and their fish predators. Hard clams support a major commercial fishery along the entire East Coast. New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Virginia are the leading states for hard clam commercial landings. The southeastern states are the leading aquaculture producers of hard clams.


Hard clam


Jack M. Whetstone (Clemson University)

Leslie N. Sturmer (University of Florida) 

Michael J. Oesterling ( Virginia Sea Grant Advisory Services)


Southern Regional Aquaculture Center (SRAC) Publication No. 433. August 2005.

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