"According to statistics, the hard clam population in the Great South Bay has declined by 90% since 1976. The number of bushels harvested by baymen between the mid 1970's and the late 1990's declined more than 70%" ('Rep. Grucci (NY1) Secures', 2007). The clam population decline threatens biodiversity of the region and wildlife extinction. Thesis Many years of clam fishing and exploitation of resources results in water deterioration, extinction of hard-clam population and industry decline.
Poor quality of water is the main cause of the clam population decline and overexploitation of these resources. Clams are be capable of tolerating extreme fluctuations in environmental conditions (salinity fluctuations are particularly stressful). Clams purify water and balance biodiversity in the region. "Degradation of water quality, especially by nonpoint source runoff, is of mounting concern. The Great South Bay is the receptacle for water from the more than a million people that live within the bay's drainage basin" (SIGNIFICANT HABITATS n.d.). Thus, water quality is the main concern in this region because of high rates of lead and zinc contamination caused by industrial pollution. Moreover, the quality of water has deteriorated because of the large amounts of pesticides, copper and other chemicals which have been used to increase production. The presence of clams is critical to many valued coastal fisheries resources. Small clam populations are unable to pump and purify waters of the basin. Substances such as oil, grease, petrol, heavy metals and leached salines have been added to the water. As a result of the changes in water quality and total control of water began to spread.
Overclamming results in extinction of the hard-clam population and has a negative impact on regional biodiversity. Clams are the main food for small sharps and squid. Decline in clam populations leads to environmental imbalance and can cause extinction of sea fish. Both the rate of loss of biodiversity and the equilibrium level of diversity that survives will be influenced through actions taken now to protect species, genetic resources, and critical habitats, while using them sustainably to meet social and economic needs. To make collective action even less harmonious, some ecological disturbances can be viewed not only as inevitable, but as necessary to the health of an ecosystem. Scientists "question whether any preventable losses should be allowed at a time when tens of thousands of dollars per acre is being spent to restore grass beds" (Blankenship 1998). But even were the best of those measures in place, the pace of destruction would still be too fast. That is because there inheres in the earth's biological assets an uneliminable public good dimension.
Industry decline could have a great impact on regional economy and unemployment. The region depends upon this industry and, if nothing changes, in several years clamming population will disappear. "No where else in America is the relationship between a healthy environment and a healthy economy more evident and intertwined than right here on Long Island," added Rep. Grucci" (Rep. Grucci (NY1) Secures, 2001). Undoubtedly, production and trade of clams embody a definite amount of economic rents that accrue to the various market participants. The