Shellfish Harvesting Techniques
Hand Rakes & Tongs
Various types of rakes are used to harvest clams and oysters. Basket rakes are equipped with wire mesh baskets to hold the catch, and bull rakes and tongs have very long handles for operation from a skiff.
Traps and Pots
Pots or traps are often designed specifically for one type of fish or shellfish. Traps and pots are generally baited and equipped with one or more funnel openings, and they are weighted to rest on the bottom. Pots or traps can be fished singularly or in small groups, and each has a buoy at the surface to mark location.
Commonly used for the commercial harvesting of scallops, clams, oysters and mussels, a dredge consists of a metal rectangular frame to which a bag-shaped net of metal rings has been attached.
The frame's lower end is called the raking bar and is often equipped with metal teeth used to dig up the bottom. The frame is connected to a towing cable and dragged along the sandy floor, much like a trawl net.
Variations include hydraulic or jet dredges, which use pressurized water pumped from the vessel to stir up deep-burrowing clams, and suction dredges, which use pump-driven suction to suck the shellfish up a pipe to the boat.
Dip Netting for Shellfish and Finfish
Squid, scallops, smelt, and other fish are selectively harvested from the surf, the ocean, lakes and rivers. This primitive method allows the fisher to target species and safely release any bycatch.
Sea urchin (uni), scallops and spiny lobster are selectively harvested from the ocean floor by hand.