Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Conditional Shellfish Harvesting Programs

Conditional harvesting programs allow shellfish diggers to take shellfish from areas that are usually classified as uncertified. Under certain conditions water quality predictably improves to the point where normally uncertified waters meet the standards for certified shellfishing areas. Conditional programs are typically operated during the colder months of the year, usually from mid-December through mid-April, when bacteria levels in the water are lower and there is less rainfall related runoff.

Conditional programs are operated by the Division of Marine Resources (DMR) at the request of and in cooperation with towns in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The towns manage the programs, provide enforcement and assist with the collection of water samples, which are examined in the DMR's FDA approved microbiology laboratory. DMR's Shellfisheries Bureau evaluates the water quality of each requested area; determines appropriate conditions and rainfall thresholds; and continues to monitor water quality while the area is open for harvesting.

Prior to the start of each program, DMR sends out "Notices to Harvesters" to advise diggers of the details of their local programs and how to participate.

All Conditional Harvesting Programs for 2020-2021 have ended. Check back in Fall 2021 for upcoming programs.

Use the links below to review specific conditions of each program and instructions for participating:

Town of Hempstead: Hempstead Bay- Middle Bay (PDF) - To check the status of this program call (516) 897-2526.

Town of Shelter Island: Dering Harbor (PDF) - To check the status of this program call (631) 749-0400 (Option 9, then Option 7).

Town of Southampton: North Sea Harbor (PDF) - To check the status of this program call (631) 287-5724.


  • Important Links
  • Contact for this Page
  • Division of Marine Resources
    123 Kings Park Blvd.
    (Nissequogue River State Park)
    Kings Park, New York 11754
    631-444-0492
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to NYS Marine Costal District