Indian River Lagoon Clam Restoration to Help Restore Important Waterway
Adult Mercenaria mercenaria clams (6-8 years old) were collected from Mosquito Lagoon in March 2019. These “superclams” survived the brown tide and hypoxic event of 2012 and subsequent bloom events. At the Whitney Laboratory bivalve hatchery, these clams were spawned and then raised in land-based and field-based nurseries. After approximately nine months, nursery-raised clams were repatriated to selected aquaculture lease locations in the Mosquito Lagoon and in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) proper.
Of the 3-4 million clams that were reared during the first year of the project in 2019, 400,000 were moved to Mosquito Lagoon in December of 2019 and the rest will be out-planted to additional sites throughout the IRL by the spring of 2020. By then, the clams will be one year old and will be ready to begin spawning in the wild, jump starting their natural recruitment in this important estuary. Monitoring of water quality and natural recruitment will continue throughout the duration of this project.