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Clam Sustainability

Species We Sell

Quahog clam (Arctica islandica)


Sustainable Clams at a Glance:

  • Quahog clams have been well-managed since 1990 in the United States, where all of Clover Leaf’s Chopped Ocean Clams and Clam Juice come from. Populations are healthy with no overfishing occurring and very little bycatch.
  • Our Quahog clams are traceable from ship(s) to can.



Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC)

The Quahog clam fishery in US federal waters uses an individual transferable quota system, meaning that fishing vessel owners are allocated a certain percentage of the total fishing quota every year. The yearly quota is set by a panel of experts after scientific analysis on the health and abundance of the stocks, to determine how many clams can be safely taken. Fishermen can choose to sell or lease their share of the quota if they don’t plan to use it.

This quota system has been in place since 1990 and has been very successful in maintaining healthy population levels. Its establishment helps to reduce fishing efforts and protect population levels off the Atlantic coast of the US. Reduction of fishing capacity is particularly important to the Quahog clam fishery because of how long these clams live for. If they are overfished, the population could take decades to fully recover. The MAFMC has been extremely effective in maintaining population levels and keeping fishing levels at or below Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY).


  • All boats catching Quahog clams must have a valid Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) permit.
  • A new fishing quota is adapted for each fishing year based on scientific analysis of the clam stock.
  • Every cage of clams brought back to shore must be tagged to evidence that it was fished with a proper ITQ permit.
  • Fishing boats must have an operational vessel monitoring system (VMS) on board and fishers must submit a report on Quahogs after every fishing trip.
  • Fishing areas are periodically closed off if environmental degradation is occurring.
  • Clams can be sold only to licensed Quahog clam dealers.

Read more here and here.