In our industry, we have found that typically the issues we face are not so much due to a lack of clams or a lack of work ethic (to go digging) but rather to communication breakdowns and regulatory awareness by all involved.
At Gulf of Maine, we’ve worked to built a network of communication, awareness and proactive collaboration among diggers, regulatory bodies and the markets we serve to help build greater consistency and growth.
These efforts include:
- Daily Outreach With Market Info – 150 harvesters get a daily text to their phones letting them know daily clam price, openings/closures, sales hours, weather and tide info.
- License information and access – we help diggers fill out applications and even send them in for them. Many harvesters do not read or write.
- Red Tide info – we print maps to promptly illustrate and communicate closed areas.
- Rain Closure Info – This prevents our diggers from being misinformed by unofficial sources and prevents HUGE DMR fines, which can be up to $300 – $1000 each.
- Equipment Sales – We have found that there is no gear outlet for basic clam gear, including clam hoes, clam rollers and clam Rings. Gufl of Maine has set up a small shop to make and sell this equipment
- Clam Rings – DMR state law restricts the harvest of clams under 2” in size. Gulf of Maine makes and provides free plastic clam rings (PVC PIPE Discs) to clammers to prevent $100 – $500 fines to harvesters
- Tide Charts – Gulf of Maine prints and offers paper copies of tide charts to all diggers
- Access to Marine Patrol – Gulf of Maine encourages local wardens to come to our buying station, check diggers, check product, and educate new and younger diggers
- MAPS – Gulf of Maine has produced a COBSCOOK/PASSAMAQUODDY BAY map with help from the GIS people at the UMM / WCCG office that allows diggers to identify areas, openings/closures
- Facebook – Gulf of Maine keeps the harvester base up to date via our GOM Facebook site (linked here).
- Harvester Recognition -Gulf of Maine annually rewards top diggers, kid diggers, senior, and female diggers with prizes, benefits, dinners, and free equipment. Sharing the pride in our crew and industry.
- Micro-Loan program – This is offered to regular diggers to help finance license fees, equipment costs, boat breakdowns, and even emergencies. Diggers will pay off loans with their daily landings. Over $15K in funds rotated in the past 3-4 years
- Media exposure -Gulf of Maineis bringing attention to the industry via: MaineBiz, Quoddy Tides, Downeast Coastal Press, Calais Advertiser, Ellsworth American, Fisherman’s Voice, Working Waterfront, etc.
- Clam Tags – USDA FDA regs require every harvester to tag each bucket, or roller of clams that is harvested. In past tags used were commonly blank to be filled in by the digger. GOM has gone the extra mile to print the diggers name, license number, and most all other info on our CUSTOM TAGS. This helps the diggers (many who cannot read or write) be accurate in their tagging of their shellfish. This also helps the product with better food safety information.