(North Carolina, Massachusetts, Virginia, Rhode Island, Rakes and Shovels)
Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs are a "Good Alternative." Hard clams from North Carolina, Massachusetts, Virginia and Rhode Island and softshell clams from Maine and Massachusetts are a "Best Choice."
Littleneck, Cherrystone, Chowder
Atlantic surf clams are generally not available for purchase as whole clams, but instead are sold in soups and chowders, as chopped or minced clam meat or breaded clam strips.
Several species of clam are found along the Atlantic coast from northern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. This recommendation covers four U.S. Atlantic clam fisheries for Atlantic surfclams, ocean quahogs, hard clams and softshell clams.
Clams vary widely by species, from fast growing to extremely slow growing and long lived. The ocean quahog is one of the longest-lived and slowest-growing clams in the world, so careful monitoring of this stock is important.
Whether caught by dredge, or hand-harvesting, bycatch is very low in these clam fisheries. The use of hydraulic dredges is the major concern, as these have impacts on the seafloor, even when used in sandy habitat. The disturbance of sediment can last as long as 40 days, and the dredge track may last as long as a year.