• Growth and maturity of the Pacific razor clam in eastern Cook Inlet, Alaska

      McKellar, Jamie M.; Sutton, Trent; Iken, Katrin; Horstmann-Dehn, Lara; Hardy, Sarah; Erickson, Jack (2014-12)
      In Alaska, the only road-accessible fishery for the Pacific razor clam, Siliqua patula, is located in eastern Cook Inlet, and has been monitored by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) since 1964. In recent years, a shift has been observed in size, age, and number of clam cohorts in this region, yet little is known about the early life history of razor clams in this region. This study aimed to provide information on length and age at maturity, growth rates, and spawn timing at two beaches in eastern Cook Inlet, Ninilchik and Clam Gulch, in 2009 and 2010. At Clam Gulch, only 20% of the sampled population was reproductive, compared with 83% at Ninilchik. At Ninilchik, clams were reproductive at a smaller size and younger age (p<0.05) than previously documented. The Ninilchik clams grew faster and had a larger size at age (p<0.05) than at Clam Gulch. A body condition index of clams from Clam Gulch was consistently 50% lower than at Ninilchik. Despite the relative proximity (25 km) of these locations, it is possible that environmental conditions may be different, resulting in differences in growth and reproductive output. This information is of special interest to fisheries managers as they address recent declines in the eastern Cook Inlet razor clam population and provides a benchmark for future management decisions.