More Clams Can Be Found In Conception Bay
By JOHN M. DERBY
Times Founding Publisher
February 7, 2019
We were the first to find the bed of steamer clams out
by a reef in Conception Bay.
In a half an hour, at low tide, one could fill a 5 gallon
bucket of the steamers and have dinner for four.
The steamers were so good served in hot garlic butter,
we told a few of our friends where the bed was.
It was not long before we saw them coming back with buckets
full, and far more than they could possibly eat.
They bragged about how many clams they could get in and
hour or two.
Year after year, we went out to the reef, and with each
year, it took a little longer to fill the bucket. Then three
years ago, we went out and we were not able to get enough
for dinner. The same happened last year, when we had invited
friends over for steamed clams. Actually our dinner guests
went out with us to get them.
Today we were apprehensive about finding clams, and did
not plan a dinner; however, we just wanted to find out the
status of the clam bed.
It was a beautiful afternoon and the tide was lower than
usual. The ocean was like glass as we rowed our small dinghy
out a mile or two. Just the exercise was worth the trip.
When we got to the bed, the water seemed a little higher
than usual. It was cold at first as we slipped over the
side of the boat.
Sitting right on the sand bottom, we reached down and clawed
with one hand. After a couple of strokes we came up with
one clam, and then another five minutes later, and we had
eight clams in 20 minutes.
We decided not to take any home with us.
Depressed, we got back into the dingy and rowed away. We
were very sad at what had happened to the bed of clams;
in just 10 years. We felt we were to blame.
We had told some people about the clam bed, and they had
told others. Each one taking more of the clams. No one seemed
to think, how easy it was to take so many of the clams that
the bed would not regenerate itself.
We lost one of the most enjoyable experiences of living
around this otherwise pristine bay.
It was a long slow row home as the sun went down on the
far side of the bay. We talked about the clams, and how
good they used to be, and swore that we would never, ever
mention the clam bed to anyone again.
When other people saw us get out of our dinghy with our
bucket, they asked about getting clams for dinner. Our answer
was simply, “There are none.”
We are still stunned by how fast just a few people can
deplete a whole bed of clams, and how long it takes for
them to come back.
Our guess is that it will take at least 10 years for the
clam bed to come back, or maybe never.