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Atlantic surfclams in a 32 bushel steel cage at the processor Atlantic surfclams ready for the processor. The containers are called "cages" and hold 32 bushels of clams. In 2015, surfclams and ocean quahogs landings generated about $40 million in first-sale revenues for Atlantic fisheries. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Peter Plantamura
Steel cage filled with surfclams being lifted off the deck of a commercial vessel onto the pier Surfclam vessel offloading, New Jersey. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Peter Plantamura

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February 23, 2017
Contact: Teri Frady

Clam Boats Test Paperless Reporting

NEFSC cooperative research and data management staff are offering to install equipment on commercial fishing vessels for electronic trip reporting in the surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries. So far, 35 vessels from New Bedford, MA to Atlantic City, NJ have been outfitted to voluntarily test the system, and more than 700 e-trip reports have been transmitted.

Called eClams (Electronic Clam Logbook and Account Management Software), the system allows fishermen to electronically record all the information required on the paper-based fishing trip report. These data are transmitted to NOAA Fisheries after the trip using land-based communication services such as WiFi.

In development by the clam industry and NOAA Fisheries for about two years, eClams is a promising technology that could lead to more rapid data availability for fishermen and managers, and higher initial data quality. Since 2002, businesses that buy surfclams and ocean quahogs from vessels have been using a sister reporting program CDER (Clam Dealer Electronic Rporting) to report their purchases. It was created and put in place through a partnership between the dealers and NOAA Fisheries.

In addition to NOAA Fisheries, partners in the eClams project include participating vessels, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, Rutgers University, National Fisheries Institute, and North Atlantic Clam Association.

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