Clammers Want to Keep Non Locals Off Their Flats 

Wayne Harvey

In most communities along the Maine coast, those working in the ocean or along the shore stick to their own area to fish or to dig.But that’s not the case in one section of the Maine coast right now.People from all over the state are showing up to work those clam flats.The local clammers are planning to do something about it.Bucksport’s Steve Kane makes his way to the scales with 5 gallon buckets full of clams after digging on the flats in the Trenton area. Right now, it’s one of the few areas along the Maine coast that doesn’t have laws limiting the harvest to locals only. “They’re putting us right out of work, their putting ordinances everywhere,” said Kane. “Down on Mount Desert Island, a place where it used to support 200 diggers, the whole place is shutdown. There’s no digging down there: just ’cause they don’t want people on their beach.”If Charles Brown of Trenton and others that work the clam flats in this area get their wish, the majority of the digging would be done by those that live in Hancock, Sullivan, Sorrento, Franklin, Lamoine and Trenton. “We got guys coming all the way from Freeport, Brunswick. We got guys coming from Calais on the other end. They’re gonna kill our clamming here so nobody’s going to be able to make a living here.”There is a meeting planned for Tuesday afternoon ( July 14th, 2009) at 2pm in Hancock to discuss a town ordinance. If it were to pass, diggers like Kane would have to apply to get an out of town license, or find other flats. “Then we have to go to the few towns that are open and there are few. They’re closing every day.” “They’re destroying our flats right now,” said Brown. “Every time 15 or 20 of them come, they take 30 or 40 bushels more of our clams or more that we could have had. They’re ruining it. We don’t have many flats as it is. They got way more area down there and they wanted their town law so stay in your own town.”Terry Watson, a clam buyer, goes where the clams are being dug. He says this has been going on forever. “I’ve been doing this since ’75, as the red tide pushed up the coast, the diggers move up the coast. The guys in town they’re always here, these guys are taking their clams and you know when you come in from away, you’re just trying to feed your family too. I see both sides yeah.”