St. Lawrence species

Arctic wedge clam

Mesodesma arctatum

Type of resource

  • Seafood
  • Seafood - molluscs

Status of the resource

  • Not determined

In season

Fresh in summer and early autumn.

SIZE : Up to 4 cm.

LIFE EXPECTANCY : Up to 24 years.

LIFE CYCLE : Sexual maturity around 3 or 4 years.

This would be the age at which the first egg is laid. The reproduction period takes place in July.

Arctic wedge clams have an asymmetrical, oval-shaped shell. The surface is ribbed, chalky white, beige, or yellowish gray. The beginning of the shell, at the hinge, is pointed.

Coastal zone, between 0 m and 90 m in depth.

The Arctic wedge clams can bury itself in both sand and mud.

Not really an Arctic clam

The Arctic wedge clam is not so “Arctic” after all, since its territory extends at least as far as Virginia. Its name comes from a mistranslation of the Latin name Mesodesma arctatum; arctatum meaning “compressed” and not “arctic”.


Organic matters





Arctic wedge clams filter water to feed.
Credit : Claude Nozères, photo taken in Matanie, in 2010.

MACHINES : Hydraulic dredge.

Commercial fishing for Arctic wedge clams is sometimes carried out on the central North Shore. The volumes fished do not reach the authorized quotas.

Recreational harvesting, yes, but only under certain conditions.

Arctic wedge clams can be hand harvested recreationally. However, molluscs can be toxic. Be sure to find out about harvesting conditions and whether your area is open. This information can be found on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website. Harvested clams must measure more than 3 cm.

BENEFITS The Arctic wedge clams is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins B3 and B12, as well as potassium and zinc.

LET’S COOKTender texture with light firmness. Lean meat with a salty yet slightly sweet flavor.

Unlike other molluscs, Arctic wedge clams do not shrink during cooking.


  • Clean the shells thoroughly with a stiff brush before cooking. Remove any damaged shells.

To avoid poisoning, it's important to always follow safe shellfish storage, handling and cooking practices.
Sources : DFO