East Cook Inlet sport and personal use razor clam fisheries closed for 2023

An emergency order has been issued each year from 2015 to 2022 closing the fisheries

Sport and personal use fisheries for razor clams will remain closed on east Cook Inlet beaches next year, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced Tuesday.

The affected areas include the mouth of the Kenai River all the way south to the tip of the Homer Spit.

According to the release from Fish and Game, abundance surveys conducted at Ninilchik and Clam Gulch beaches in the spring of this year found that the estimated adult population was below the department’s required threshold.

The release notes that an emergency order has been issued each year from 2015 to 2022 closing the razor clam sport and personal use fisheries.

A new strategy adopted in March requires that adult razor clam abundance surveys be held annually, and the findings need to meet or exceed 50% of the historical average to open a “limited harvest opportunity.” Those thresholds were not met.

In the release, Lower Cook Inlet Area Management Biologist Mike Booz said that below average growth and very high natural mortality rates have resulted in fewer than expected adult clams.

The next surveys will be performed in April and May. If those surveys indicate a healthier abundance, the department will issue a press release announcing any harvest opportunities.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.