NOAA Fisheries is implementing surfclam and ocean quahog quotas for the 2020 fishing year that we previously announced as projected on February 6, 2018. There have been no overages in 2019, and there is no new biological information, so we are now finalizing the 2020 quotas. The 2020 fishing year quotas will remain 3.4 million bushels for surfclams, 5.33 million bushels for ocean quahogs, and 100,000 Maine bushels for Maine ocean quahogs.
NOAA Fisheries is also suspending the minimum size requirement for surfclams. Discard, catch, and biological data show that 22 percent of 2019 coastwide landed surfclams had a shell length less than 4.75 inches, which is less than the 30 percent trigger for a minimum size requirement. This is closer to the trigger than in prior years. Vessels are encouraged to avoid areas with a lot of clams under 4.75 inches to reduce the chance of initiating the default minimum size in 2021.