KENAI, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says it will again ban the catching of razor clams on the Cook Inlet side of Kenai Peninsula.
The Peninsula Clarion reports sport and personal clamming will be banned in 2019.
The department is closing the east side of the inlet to encourage recovery of the clams.
It says young razor clams experienced a poor survival rate from 2009 to 2015. There also was a high natural mortality rate among mature-sized razor clams.
The closure stretches from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southern tip of Homer Spit.
Officials are not why the razor clam population plummeted in 2014.
Heavy surf, habitat changes, environmental stressors and predation may have played a role, according to the department.
"Eastside razor clam populations are beginning to rebuild, but uncertainties remain if it will continue into 2019," the department said.
Clam surveys are scheduled for spring on Ninilchik and Clam Gulch beaches to assess the numbers of juvenile- and mature-size razor clams, annual growth, natural mortality and potential harvest opportunity.
Recreational clamming on the west side of Cook Inlet is not affected by the closure.