Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Management Plan
The surfclam and ocean quahog fishery is managed under a fishery management plan (FMP) developed by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. With the exception of the Maine mahogany quahog fishery, the fishery has operated under an individual transferable quota (ITQ) management system since 1990.
The principal gear used in the fishery is the hydraulic clam dredge, which uses jets of water to dislodge ocean quahogs and surfclams from sediments.
A smaller "dry" dredge (without hydraulic jets) is used in Maine waters to harvest Maine mahogany quahogs.
The mahogany quahog fishery off Maine is managed under a relatively small quota that is separate from the quota used to manage the ITQ fishery. Ocean quahogs off Maine are managed separately because of differences in biological, fishery, and market characteristics.
Implementing regulations are found at 50 CFR part 648 subpart E. Find out more about Managing Sustainable Fisheries in the Greater Atlantic Region.