From left, Isaac Meyers, Bailey Rahn, Jess Giles, Drew Shane, Jake Torok, Harpswell Select Board Chairperson Kevin Johnson, Marine Resources Committee Chairperson David Wilson and volunteer Travis Wilson with the clam seed donation from Running Tide. Karl Eschholz of Running Tide photo

This week, the town of Harpswell received a donation of about a half million quahog seeds from Running Tide’s shellfish hatchery, based out of Mitchell Field. The donation is intended to enhance the local hard clam fishery and promote population growth in the future by placing some of the seed in areas closed to harvest. The additional shellfish also provide environmental benefit by increasing the number of filter-feeders to the coastal ecosystem.

“The Town of Harpswell is extremely grateful for the donation of quahog seed from Running Tide,” Harbormaster Paul Plummer said in a press release. “The Harpswell Marine Resource Committee, along with Harpswell licensed shellfish harvesters, intend to grow out the seed to a size less susceptible to predation, before planting into the wild mud flats later this fall. In recent years, harvesters have seen a decline in the softshell clam resource either from predation, climate change or all of the above. With any luck, this seed donated to the town will help propagate the wild quahog resource for the residents and harvesters of Harpswell.”

The town of Harpswell issues approximately 74 shellfish harvester licenses annually, and shellfish provide an important source of income to many in the community, according to a release by the town.

“We are proud to work with the Town of Harpswell to replenish local quahog beds,” said Adam Baske, director of shellfish and restoration with Running Tide. “Restoration efforts like this showcase how the aquaculture and wild shellfish sectors can collaborate for the good of the working waterfront and our coastal ecosystems. We look forward to doing more work with Harpswell and other communities in the future.”

While Running Tide’s shellfish operation is the most visible aspect of the company in the Harpswell area, the company is engaged in an international effort to fight climate change and restore coastal ecosystems. In the last few years, Running Tide has grown to over 100 employees, 70 of whom are based in Maine, including engineers, marine biologists, welders, computer scientists, maritime professionals and lab technicians.

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