Clam festival wraps up amid uncertainty in shellfish biz

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YARMOUTH, Maine (AP) - Maine's clams are in rough shape, but the state's annual celebration of the bivalves is determined to end with a bang.

The 54th Annual Yarmouth Clam Festival wraps up for the year on Sunday. The three-day event draws thousands of people to coastal Maine for food, merriment and competitions such as the 39th Annual Clam Festival Men's & Women's Professional Bike Race.

Maine's softshell clam harvest, though, is dwindling. Harvesters collected less than 1.5 million pounds of clam meat for the second year in a row in 2018. They typically collected 3 million to 7 million pounds per year in the 1970s and '80s.

Scientists have said the clams are struggling with problems such an increase in predators, such as invasive green crabs.