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Shellfishing

Shellfish Harvesting Area Closure Alerts

For your convenience, the below active alert box is used to distribute information on water quality-related shellfish harvesting closures of Conditional Areas and emergency closures from harmful algal blooms, sewage releases, etc.

A link to a reference map and written descriptions of all RI shellfish waters with seasonal and year-round water quality related shellfish harvesting closures are provided below.

As required by RI General Law § 20-8.1-3 DEM will continue to use the 24-hour shellfish hotline (401-222-2900) as the primary tool for providing notice of harvesting restrictions.

Information regarding shellfish management restrictions, minimum sizes, and possession limits: Shellfish & Regulations.

 
 

Where Can I Shellfish?

The DEM Shellfish Program classifies all shellfish harvest waters within the limits of Rhode Island state waters for the enjoyment of recreational shellfish harvesters and for the commercial shellfish industry. Click the map image below to view the approximate boundaries and the current classification of these areas.

The boundaries shown on these maps are a general reference only. The written description of each classified area supersedes these map depictions and can be found by following the identified links within the map or in the document entitled Shellfish Grounds, Closures and Approved Areas

 
image of typical interactive map screen, and link to same
Click the map to go to the interactive map feature
 

All waters of the state that are designated for shellfish harvesting have been identified and named as individual Growing Areas (GA1 – GA 17) with area specific classifications and boundaries.

Maps and descriptions of the individual shellfish growing areas and their current classifications can also be found here:

Growing Area ID Growing Area Name General Description of Growing Area
GA-1 Upper Narragansett Bay Waters of Narragansett Bay south of the Providence River and north of Prudence Island
GA-2 Barrington, Palmer and Warren Rivers Waters south of the Massachusetts state line to the Upper Narragansett Bay
GA-3 East Middle Bay South of the Upper Narragansett Bay east of Prudence Island including Bristol Harbor
GA-4 Sakonnet River All waters of the Sakonnet River including the "Cove" and Nannaquaket Pond
GA-5 Kickemuit River Estuarine portion of the Kickemuit River
GA-6 East Passage Waters south of Prudence Island and between Jamestown and Newport
GA-7 West Passage Waters south and west of Jamestown
GA7-2 Narrow River Narrow or Pettaquamscutt River
GA-8 Greenwich Bay Waters of Greenwich Bay north west of Warwick Neck
GA-9 West Middle Bay Waters south of the Upper Narragansett Bay and west of Prudence Island
GA-10 Point Judith and Potters Ponds Southern coastal ponds Point Judith and Potters
GA-11NG Ninigret and Green Hill Ponds Southern coastal ponds Ninigret and Green Hill
GA-11QW Quonochontaug and Winnapaug Pond Southern coastal ponds Quonochontaug and Winnapaug
GA-12 Little Narragansett Bay Little Narragansett Bay
GA-13 Block Island Inland waters of the Great Salt Pond on Block Island
GA-14E Offshore East Offshore waters from Narragansett to Westport Massachusetts
GA-14W Offshore West including Offshore Block Island Offshore waters from Nappa Tree Point to Narragansett including the offshore waters of Block Island
GA-15 Seekonk River Seekonk River to the Providence River
GA-16 Providence River Providence River to the Upper Narragansett Bay
GA-17 Mount Hope Bay Waters of Mount Hope Bay south of the Massachusetts state line
 

The State of Rhode Island is a member of the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference. The Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) was formed in 1982 to foster and promote shellfish sanitation through the cooperation of state and federal control agencies, the shellfish industry, and the academic community. Rhode Island must abide by rules and guidance set forth in the National Shellfish Sanitation Program's (NSSP) Model Ordinance in order to operate as an interstate shellfish state.

Other Important Information

  • In addition to pollution closures both recreational and commercial shellfish harvesters need to be aware of DEM Division of Marine Fisheries management and catch regulations. DEM Division of Marine Fisheries sets size, quantity, and seasonal harvesting limits and has designated areas in approved shellfish harvesting waters that have additional management limitations. Refer to their recreational and commercial fishing laws for the complete text of these regulations.
  • Always remember shellfish harvesting will be allowed only when declared OPEN by the DEM Office of Water Resources based upon water quality considerations.
  • Regulations and notices of Polluted Shellfish Grounds by the Office of Water Resources shall supersede the regulations cited above.
  • DEM's Division of Law Enforcement Marine Unit provides patrol and enforcement of the shellfish growing area classifications and boundaries and information on this element of the sanitary control of the shellfish industry along with other marine enforcement duties.
 
Shellfish Wholesalers and Dealers

The state annually issues numbered certificates to shellfish dealers who comply with the agreed-upon sanitary standards & forwards copies of the interstate certificates to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA makes an annual review of each state shellfish control program, including the inspection of a representative number of shellfish processing plants & publishes a list of valid interstate shellfish shipper certificates. View Rhode Island Department of Health's shellfish inspection program information.


PRIMARY RESOURCES

 

Stay Informed

Subscribe to email notifications on water quality-related shellfish harvesting restrictions. Notifications will include information on closures of Conditional Areas and emergency closures (harmful alga blooms, sewage releases, etc).
As required by RI General Law § 20-8.1-3 DEM will continue to provide notice of harvesting restrictions on the 24-hour shellfish hotline recording: 401-222-2900.

Subscribe to Receive Shellfish Closure Alerts
Clicking on the button above opens an email message. Send the email message to sign up for the Listserve service. Messages will be sent to the email address from which your message was sent.

Shellfish Classifications

There are three classifications of shellfish harvest waters in the State of Rhode Island.

Classification Harvesting Activities
Approved Harvesting Allowed
Conditionally Approved Harvesting Allowed except under certain conditions caused by rainfall, wastewater treatment plant by-passes or on a seasonal schedule
Prohibited NO Shellfish Harvesting Allowed

Call 401-222-2900 (24/7) for information on CONDITIONALLY APPROVED areas of Upper Narragansett Bay, Greenwich Bay, Mount Hope Bay, or the Kickemuit River and emergency closures.

Contact
Office of Water Resources (OWR)
Shellfish Program
235 Promenade Street
Providence, RI 02908-5767
Phone: (401) 222-4700
Fax: (401) 222-3564