Accomplishments

MCA overarching achievement has been in enabling clammers to step into their modern role as stewards of the ocean. The wild clammers reliance on clean water has made them the front line soldiers in the fight to preserve Maine’s coastal water quality in the face of climate change, shoreline development, and aging infrastructure. Operating with only a small-budget and volunteer team, MCA has accomplished a great deal since 2008, including:

Stewardship:

  • Adapting wild clammers to the rapidly changing natural world- one that is shaped by climate change, overconsumption, overpopulation and overdevelopment.
  • Consistently monitoring Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Department of Marine Resources (DMR) and Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry to ensure protection of watersheds throughout Maine.
  • Cultivated a relationship with DMR that facilitated a heightened sense of urgency about the issue of water quality at the agency.
  • Assisted DMR in identifying and addressing serious concerns around their water testing program, shoreline surveys, and rain gauge testing.
  • Played a critical role in establishing interagency collaboration that benefits Maine’s fishing communities.
  • Helped the ME Department of Public Health implement reasonable and common sense management tools to allow a more complete picture of the resource to emerge.
  • Participated in watershed protection efforts such as Pick Up After Your Pet Day(s) and direct education efforts at Freeport’s Winslow Park.
  • Staffed an outreach booth and touch tank at the Harraseeket Heritage Days Festival to facilitate hand-on marine science learning.
  • Brought awareness to the cancer destroying our oceans: the invasive green crab.
  • Assisted Brazier Trap Co. in the design of an effective invasive green crab trap.
  • Founded the Five to Stay Alive trapping program to encourage wild clammers coast wide to trap invasive green crabs.
  • Helping town of Freeport identify invasive green crab mitigation techniques.
  • Designed and installed invasive green crab fencing in Casco Bay- the biggest fencing project in the history of the state.

Research:

  • Assisting the science community in better understanding the nature of the green crab cancer eating Maine’s marine resource.
  • Working with DMR, Resource Access International, and Maine’s Clam Research Guru Dr. Brian “Mad Dog” Beal to study the impacts of ocean acidification, invasive crab predation, and shellfish diseases to determine effective adaptive shellfish management tools.
  • Provided resources and support to expand the scope of research beyond meaningless scale associated with many of the scientific marine research projects conducted in the past.
  • Assumed the lead in significant field science experiments that take into consideration the needs of the shellfish industry.
  • Initiated and conducted invasive green crab trapping experiments.
  • Built the biggest invasive green crab fencing project in the history of the state of Maine.
  • Provided the manpower and support necessary to build demonstration models for the fencing and trapping experiments so that these shellfish protection techniques can be replicated up and down the coast.
  • Developed, in coordination with student clammer Connor O’Neil, a study to look at the effect of green crab trap soak time on catch rate.

Education:

  • Initiated and manages the 5 to Stay Alive invasive green crab trapping program.
  • Held an Invasive Species Summit at Freeport Middle School.
  • Ran a touch tank display and health fair booth at Mast Landing School.
  • Sponsor of the Clam Flying contest with the Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education.
  • Advocate and promoter of modern Student Commercial License Programs. Modern Student Shellfish Licenses provide high school students a chance to immerse themselves in traditional Maine coastal culture while simultaneously providing them with business skills and social interactions that bond them into fabric of their community. These programs provide the upcoming generation with a more hands on real-time understanding of our marine resources. It also provides them with a source of income, which helps them establish a foundation on which they can build their future upon.
  • Developed a culturally appropriate shellfish curriculum for the Coastal Studies for Girls, a Science and Leadership School.
  • Holds an annual Freeport 7th-grade clam dig, marine resource teach-in, and clam chowder at Wolfe Neck Park.
  • Produced (in conjunction with the Freeport Shellfish Commission and Pinkhouse Productions) an educational video on the importance of clean water.
  • Educated the Maine legislature on issues such as Shoreline Zoning setback requirements, which require municipalities to regulate land use activities within 250 horizontal feet of certain waterways; and the DEP’s Overboard Discharge Program that regulates discharges of sanitary and household wastewater generated near streams, rivers, bays, and the ocean.

Community Building:

  • Gives a voice to the concerns and issues facing wild Maine Clammers.
  • Has given Maine’s wild clammers and fishing families an identity they can be proud of. While we know, like all families, there will be disagreements on issues, MCA provides fishing families an uncompromising platform where their traditional Maine values and ideas are respected.
  • Provides information necessary to communities for adaption to climate change, including the development and transition to more appropriate management measures.
  • Sponsor of the Help Thirsty Eagle Kick Epilepsy in the Teeth Charity Clam Dig.
  • Sponsor of the Freeport Elders Charity Clam Dig.
  • Santa Fund Charity Clam Dig and associated Christmas present distribution.