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Another cold-weather casualty: clam pizzas

Has your favorite restaurant’s clam pizza or raw oyster dish disappeared from the menu? Blame the cold.

East Coast waters have frozen in bays, tributaries and other slow-flowing spots, areas where mollusks are harvested and some fish species caught. Cold weather froze fishing boats in harbors or made heading out to sea difficult.

As winter lingered, restaurants serving East Coast seafood have at times been forced to take fan favorites off their menus.

The North End Grill, a lower Manhattan seafood restaurant, normally sells about 400 clams a day, raw, steamed or atop a well-loved clam pizza. “When there are no clams, there is no pizza,” said Eric Korsh, executive chef at the restaurant, which is owned by Union Square Hospitality Group.

Clam supplies have been inconsistent for about two months, he said.

At Seasons 52, a national chain owned by Darden Restaurants Inc., Nantucket Bay scallops came off menus due to cold weather for days at a time during a December and January special. The company knew weather could cause supply challenges, so it prepped servers to tell customers about how extreme cold affects scallop harvest, said Jim Messinger, its executive chef.

February was one of the coldest months on record through much of the Northeast, creating havoc in the fishing industry. Some mollusk fishing areas have regulations that set cold temperature limits for harvesting. Young mollusks need to be thrown back to keep populations strong and will die on the boat if harvested in cold weather.

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