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Shellfishing

hard clams, also known as quahogs
Hard clams or quahogs are harvested by
both commercial and recreational clam diggers.

Shellfish Alerts

There are currently temporary shellfish closures in Suffolk County. Visit the Temporary Shellfish Closure page for more information.

Effective on May 2, 2018 emergency regulations were filed to update shellfish closures. Effective August 15, 2018 this emergency regulation was readopted to extend the rule for 60 days. Please visit the Marine Resources Proposed, Emergency and Recently Adopted Regulations page for more information about the changes.

Please make sure to review our 2018 Reference Guide for All Harvesters and Shellfish Dealers (PDF, 317 KB) and the 2018 Vibrio Control Plan.

Please see Official Descriptions of all Shellfish Closures (Part 41) and Classification Maps to view normal regulatory shellfish closures.

Try our new NYSDEC Public Shellfish Mapper (link leaves DEC's website). This interactive map shows shellfish closures, conditional harvesting programs, shellfish harvest zones, aquaculture lease sites and water sampling stations.

Going Clamming?

New York State has a wide variety of shellfish available for harvest: hard clams or quahogs, blue mussels, razor clams, soft clams, oysters and bay scallops. Most of these bivalve mollusks can be caught by recreational shellfish harvesters. Many are also caught by commercial harvesters and are available at your local markets.

If you want to catch your own shellfish to eat, be sure to review the list below before heading to the water!

  • First, make sure the area where you want to go clamming is open to shellfish harvesting. A list of shellfish closures is available below under regulatory and temporary closures.
  • Second, check the harvesting limits for the shellfish species you wish to take.
  • Lastly, enjoy preparing your locally caught seafood! Some of our favorite dishes are stuffed baked clams, Manhattan style clam chowder, mussels marinara, oysters Rockefeller, or deep fried scallops.

For more information read NYS Conservationist magazine article, Digging for Buried Treasure - Clamming in New York's Waters (PDF, 662 KB).

Shellfish Harvest Zones for Commercial Diggers can be found on the Shellfish Permits and Licenses page.

Types of Shellfish Closures:

There are two types of shellfish closures: regulatory closures and temporary closures.

  • Regulatory closures are based on the annual water quality analysis of a specific area. Changes in the regulatory classifications are determined by year-round water quality monitoring and are not changed often.
  • Temporary closures can occur when an area that is normally open experiences sudden, short-term degradations in water quality. This could be the result of excessive amounts of stormwater runoff or the presence of harmful algal blooms or biotoxins in the water. Once the event that caused the poor water quality has ended and water quality has improved, the area may be reopened to harvest. Temporary shellfish closures are also implemented when predictable conditions pose a threat to water quality. These closures usually occur during high use periods, such as holidays and special events, when increased numbers of mooring boats increase the possibility that recreational boaters may occasionally discharge waste overboard.

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