(NECN: Marnie MacLean, Brunswick, Maine) - Clam diggers in Maine are bracing themselves for what could be a second invasion of green crabs this summer.
The crab population exploded last year because of warmer ocean temperatures. They ate their way through the clam flats and threatened to decimate Maine's clamming industry.
Efforts are underway to figure out how to deal with the green crabs while scientists study a new, more positive impact of warmer ocean waters.
It appears the number of quahogs in Maine is increasing, which could open up a new harvest for Maine clammers.
Quahogs are bigger and have harder shells than soft shell clams which protects them from the crabs. They are plentiful in the Mid-Atlantic states but their numbers in Maine have always been much smaller.
The team conducting the study has hand planted hundreds of quahogs and will see how well they survive and grow over the summer.
"We didn't want to send a bunch of people out there to harvest them if we weren't sure how long they were going to last, so we want to manage it as a sustainable resource," said Darcy Couture from Resource Access International.
This is the first time Maine is doing this kind of targeted study on quahogs. The town of Brunswick is funding the $25,000 project.