AUGUSTA – The Maine Senate sustained Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill to extend a pilot project that allowed towns to study ways to control the effects of green crabs on clams.

The Republican governor vetoed the bill last week. He said the state should use data gathered in the pilot program rather than “extend this pilot ad infinitum.”

The Republican-controlled Senate voted to sustain the veto on Thursday. The vote was mostly along party lines. Maine Democrats say the veto and failure to override it are short-sighted because of the damage green crabs can do to the lucrative softshell clam industry.

Scientists say the invasive green crabs prey on the clams and damage coastal habitats like eelgrass beds and salt marshes.