A Way of Life: The Future of Clamming
Men and women living in the North Shore will continue to work hard to put clams on your plate. But in order to do so, some say there will need to be further developments in aquaculture and purification plants, where clams are cleansed of toxins. Still others advocate for less stringent regulation of the industry.
“It’s definitely endangered as a career. There aren’t really a lot of young people coming along to this profession. A lot of the people are fifty or older, who were sort of part of that. Younger people want more of a stable occupation. Well, there are many people who still enjoy the idea of working with their hands, and fresh air, and being in the natural environment. And there’s a lot to be said for that. One of the nice things I like about my job now, as well as I liked about when I was shell fishing, is almost every day there’s one of those—where you take a deep breath and you go, “Ah” moments, where it’s just the beauty of the sight before you, just sends shivers down your spine. Yeah, and that’s always nice.” - Dave Sargent
"But I don’t think the industry will ever disappear, as long as we don’t pollute ourselves. I was distressed to hear on Sunday that part of the Governor’s recommendation for controlling the budget is the elimination of the purification plant in Newburyport, Plum Island. It was in Sunday’s Boston Globe. It’s the only plant in in New England I believe, that’s state operated, that you can take clams, they stay there for a week, and they come out pure and clean. Ipswich clammers do not take their claim clams up there. But clams harvested around the Saugus landfill, and in Revere, and in parts of Boston where they’re still harvested, they have to go up to Newbury. And if that doesn’t happen, the industry will collapse in the Revere area. So that’s going to drive the price of clams up, too." - Joseph Carlin