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
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.
- Notice of Pollution, Shellfish Grounds, Closures and Approved Areas
- Interactive Shellfish Closure Map
- Shellfish Definitions
- Shellfish Harvesters' Tips for Safety and Quality
- Standard Operating Procedures- Shellfish Program
- FDA National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP)
- 2019 Shellfish Program Classification Report
- 2018 Shellfish Program Classification Report
- 2017 Shellfish Program Classification Report
- Ten Things You Can Do to Improve Water Quality in RI
- Five Reasons Why Feeding Waterfowl is Harmful
- RIDOH Shellfish Inspection Program
- RIDEM Division of Law Enforcement
- RIDEM Division of Marine Fisheries
- RIDEM Licensing and Boater Registration
- US Food and Drug Association
- Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference
- National Shellfish Sanitation Program
- RI Shellfish Management Plan
- East Coast Shellfish Growers Association
- National Shellfisheries Association