SandyHookR

Where have they gone? Let's guess!

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You folks know that a vital link in our coastal food chain is the Atlantic surf clam. These clams are an essential food source for crabs, other mollusks, shore birds, and especially finfish such as striped bass.  Where beach replenishment has NOT occurred, including areas like Island Beach State Park, surf clam populations remain healthy (see photo below, IBSP 2022). In other areas, including the greater percentage of our shoreline, the clams have been nearly wiped out (see 2nd photo, Sea Bright 2022). The impact on coastal marine life is devastating. 

 

I'm sure you have noticed this. It is really a tragic loss. If you care, help us out. Visit the facebook page of the New Jersey Coastal Alliance and sign up!  

ibsp 11-22.jpg

P2120005.JPG

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Posted (edited)

Years back I use to have to walk around the piles of clams washed up on the beach....some the size of dinner plates......then again, so were the star fish ......when you kill off the near shore ecosystem this is what your left with...a barren wasteland along our coast......by the people who have no clue and don't care but line their pockets with our tax $$$$$........Horrible.....OMO.

Edited by Mr. Bigdeal

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Back when I was a teenager I would wait for a good storm to go by and head to the beach and could fill a 5 gallon bucket with clams and have enough bait for weeks.  Can't remember when I last saw a surf clam on the sand.

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Surf clams, coquina clams & sand worms (all types) are totally depleted. 

Even w/o storm piles-they used to be present with any outflow or increase of current with the daily tidal flow. 

DE & MD beaches didn't have the surf clams.

Major food source and major filtration of the water. 

Don't know where they went but I believe (for now) that they would return if they just stopped unnaturally altering/ruining the surf ecosystem.

 

The photos  that you shared look very similar to each other. 

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10 mins ago, SeaZen 21 said:

Is replenishment just a Jersey thing, or are other states doing it too?

All up and down the east coast. But NJ is the king. Way more than any other state. Florida is second place. 

 

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They just dredged the inlet down here on the gulf where I live and dumped sand onto the jetties. I was out there into the night last week and stepped on some loose stuff and sunk 2 feet. Reminds me of fishing in LBI area. Sucks

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On 11/15/2022 at 10:13 AM, SeaZen 21 said:

Is replenishment just a Jersey thing, or are other states doing it too?

Hawaii spends millions replenishing with sand barged over from Australia.

 

Waikiki beach has receded a lot from what I remembered in 1985 when I was stationed there with the Army.  Revisited in 2010 and 2017 to find the waterline much closer to the hotel verandas.

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Posted (edited)

On 11/15/2022 at 10:13 AM, SeaZen 21 said:

Is replenishment just a Jersey thing, or are other states doing it too?

I don't know what they do in Malibu, CA.

 

Apparently the whole state gets taxed Millions of $$$ just so a handful of homeowners don't have their multi-million $ homes washed into the sea.

 

In NJ, they just let the sea reclaim Seabreeze.  (Good fishing there I hear.  Too many greenheads for my taste.  I went there once around April).

Edited by BillHoo

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On 11/15/2022 at 8:56 AM, Gatr522 said:

Surf clams, coquina clams & sand worms (all types) are totally depleted. 

Even w/o storm piles-they used to be present with any outflow or increase of current with the daily tidal flow. 

DE & MD beaches didn't have the surf clams.

Major food source and major filtration of the water. 

Don't know where they went but I believe (for now) that they would return if they just stopped unnaturally altering/ruining the surf ecosystem.

 

The photos  that you shared look very similar to each other. 


yup it’s all up and down the coast. I have gone to OBX for 30 years now and when I was a kid the coquina clams were so abundant they could light up the surf line with a rainbow of colors.

 

The last 10 years it has been a strong decline to the point where I saw almost none this year.

 

Things are changing right under our noses…… 

 

Any of you guys remember actually catching “trash fish” in the surf. Things are not good right now and I don’t see this as some big down cycle. 

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14 mins ago, TheSpaniard said:


yup it’s all up and down the coast. I have gone to OBX for 30 years now and when I was a kid the coquina clams were so abundant they could light up the surf line with a rainbow of colors.

 

The last 10 years it has been a strong decline to the point where I saw almost none this year.

 

Things are changing right under our noses…… 

 

Any of you guys remember actually catching “trash fish” in the surf. Things are not good right now and I don’t see this as some big down cycle. 

I go back a ways.... Father was completing Marine Biology courses when I was a child in the 60's-so I had more than just a curiosity. I spent most summers in DE. You could not dig a hole without tiny clams, mole crabs & a variety of worms. When we wanted to take some clams to eat-sometimes wer had a toy plastic shovel but several of us just used our hands. Razors were in the silted sand and hard  shells were everywhere.  In Rehoboth bay-large blue crabs were everywhere. Low tide the water was less than 1'. Used to sight hunt-no net chase until they dug in-pick them up from behind. No broken glass anywhere. If I felt a clam as I was perusing a crab I would just reach under my foot and throw it in the net laundry bag.

I did have a minnow net for a few summers. In Lewes bay giant silversides/ spearing in vast schools swam up & down the shore line. A good sweep would get a net full. There were sea cucumbers, hermit crabs conch & welk .  Blowfish-pairs of guys would walk the shore line-one with a chicken wire crab net the other with a bushel basket 5-10' apart. Net toss into the basket day after day. That was in Lewes about the time the Ferry was finalized.

Occasionally I would go to NJ where my father was completing his studies. Of all places I would go to the Atlantic City beach. There were worms there also. 

 

Currently-other than mole crabs there are virtually no filter feeders, forage prey or plants to build /attract the food chain.

 

On a positive note-I watched with nostalgic admiration -a few days ago- vast schools of bunker with plenty of predator action.

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24 mins ago, bass-o-matic said:

Anyone rake calicos for bass bait anymore?  I haven't seen anyone do it in a long time.  Are they still around?

Do you want to buy my rake and give it a shot?

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