Inexpensive Feeds as Dietary Supplements to Accelerate Growth of Juvenile Surf Clams (Spisula solidissima)

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Increased demand for live and processed clams has been accompanied by a decreased supply of wild clams. The surf clam, Spisula solidissima, was utilized extensively for processed clam products until overfishing reduced the surf clam harvest. Surf clams can be produced in one growing season, for use in markets currently supplied by slower growing hard or soft-shell clams. The purpose of this research project was to determine if inexpensive supplements could be used to cost-effectively accelerate clam growth in a commercial-scale open system. Addition of rice starch to the natural algal supply resulted in significant increases in clam weight and length. Increased value of larger clams was not great enough, however, to offset increased labor and feed costs. The results of this study will not allow immediate commercialization of the supplementation process. Rather, these results may encourage further research with supplemental feeds. Before commercialization can take place, better diets must be developed and unit labor costs must be reduced. Cost-effective supplemental feeding could provide surf clam seed for grow-out to supply markets for live and processed clam products.