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Harpswell to Close Shellfish Beds for Predator Study

The town of Harpswell has closed almost 15 acres at the mouth of Strawberry Creek to the harvesting of shellfish and marine worms for the rest of the year.

The closure is being done to study the effectiveness of removing a couple of predators that are taking their toll on clams: invasive European green crabs and milky ribbon worms.

Darcie Couture,  the town's marine resource coordinator, says green crab numbers are down significantly so far this year and researchers are wondering if the cold winter killed a lot of them, or if the crabs moved into deeper water and are waiting for warmer temperatures before moving closer to shore - or a combination of the two.

"What we're hoping to do in Strawberry Creek is show that, now that, hopefully, the population over all is lower than it was last year, maintenance trapping will be sufficient to keep the crabs out of the high resource areas," Couture says.

In addition to predator control, Couture says the study will look into the survival of seed clams. She says it's one of four municipal pilot studies approved by the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Ed is a Maine native who spent his early childhood in Livermore Falls before moving to Farmington. He graduated from Mount Blue High School in 1970 before going to the University of Maine at Orono where he received his BA in speech in 1974 with a broadcast concentration. It was during that time that he first became involved with public broadcasting. He served as an intern for what was then called MPBN TV and also did volunteer work for MPBN Radio.