b'Our Favorite Filter Feeders:Cape Cod SCape Cod ShellfishhellfishIMAGE CREDIT: UNSPLASHClams galore! Y ou either love them or hate them. Inestuary sea grasses, seabeds, and plant life inOcean from Nova Scotia to the Carolinas. Most many cases, you might be allergic toponds. Excessive growth of algae causes cloudy,are harvested by fishing vessels called drag-them. Allergies and personal prefer- murky water, keeping the sunlight from reachinggers as they drag gear across the bottom of the ence aside, shellfishing is a big-timethe bottom. Among many other things, thisshallow waters. They can reach 7 or 8 inches player on Cape Cod, feeding both localdepletes the oxygen in the water which is essen- across and can live for up to 30 years. Like most and worldwide markets, and creating andtial to all things living in our waters.clams they filter feeders. They are used as Clam maintaining countless local jobs.Archaeological evidence going all the wayStrips or chopped up for chowder. Shellfish, despite the name, are not fish, butback to before Ancient Rome shows that are water-dwelling invertebrate animals.bivalves have served as a significant culinary Shellfish include crustaceans (shrimp, lob- resource for humanity - on Cape Cod, shellfish sters), and mollusks (cephalopods like squid,cultivation was practiced by the Indigenous Peo-bivalves such as clams and oysters, gastro- ples. The shells of channeled whelk and quahog pods such as snails, and chitons). Bivalves, inare also used by northeastern Indigenous Peo-particular, are found in aquatic environmentsples to make wampum, traditional shell beads around the world.strung and used for storytelling, ceremonial Bivalve mollusks have an external coveringgifts, for recording important treaties and his-that is a two-part hinged shell. Most live ontorical events, and also used as currency. the seafloor or burrow just under the seabedThe most common shellfish on Cape Cod are surface, others will attach themselves tohard- and soft-shelled clams, blue mussels, rocks or hard surfaces. A majority are filteroysters, bay scallops, razor clams, and quahog. feeders eating mostly phytoplankton, algae, and other microscopic sea creatures. Most have two siphon tubes (valves) that extend from the shell to the surface of the seabed. Water is sucked into the animal from the intake tube and passed over gills, removingIMAGE CREDIT: CAPE COD MARITIME MUSEUMoxygen for respiration, and then passing overSoft Shell Clams. small hair-like structures that trap the food particles. Waste is passed out through the exitSoft Shell Clam (Mya arenaria)siphon tube. Soft shelled clams are a thin shelled, oval The fresh and marine waters of Cape Cod areshaped bivalve that lives along the Atlantic an essential habitat for many species of shellfish.IMAGE CREDIT: CAPE COD MARITIME MUSEUM coast from Labrador to North Carolina. They This ecosystem consists of eelgrass beds andAtlantic Surf Clam, bottom left, compared to Soft Shellburrow 8 to 12 inches deep in the soft sand/sandy bottoms that require clear, clean water.Clam, top right.mud intertidal areas of bays and estuaries and Nitrogen is a vital nutrient to the environment,Atlantic Surf Clam (Spisula solidissima) grow up to about 4 inches long. Each clam can however, in excess it causes an increase in organicSurf Clams are a large clam found both off- filter about a gallon of water per hour, and they matter and rapid growth of algae blooms, cyano- shore and inshore in the western Atlanticcan live up to 12 years. They are very popular in bacteria, red tide, and other contaminants in therestaurants being served as steamers. 28 This is Hy-Line'