THE BEALS ISLAND REGIONAL SHELLFISH HATCHERY
Beals Island, Maine
Open Daily For Tours
No food served here. But chances are that the Maine fried clams you're eating this summer got their start in the tanks at the Beals Island hatchery.
To the right, clams in three stages of growth. Top right, the specks of sand are clams a few days old. Middle right, bigger specs, a bit older. Bottom right, maybe a few months old and starting to look like clams. Next step are off-shore beds run by the hatchery.
Towns wanting to stock clams along their shoreline get them from the hatchery. The clams are placed in a trench at low tide, covered and allowed to mature to full size. A clam has to be at least two inches wide to be harvested. Adult clams are 2-3 years old
The hatchery is also working on a method of farming sea scallops and is searching for a reason to make the clam's prime predator, the green crab, a marketable item itself, figuring the more green crabs caught the less to feed on the baby clams.
There's no charge for a tour but donations are appreciated and well-earned.