DOAG: Recreational Shellfishing

Recreational Shellfishing

Species Available for Harvest in Connecticut

Shellfishing Area Contacts, Status Hotlines, and Harvest Limits

CT Sea Grant


Note:  There is no recreational shellfishing in the towns of Bridgeport, Stratford, West Haven, New Haven, East Haven, Clinton, Ledyard, Montville, New London, Old Lyme, or Westbrook.


Please contact the Health Department in the town where you plan to shellfish for a description or map of Approved or Conditionally Approved shellfishing areas and any local laws or license requirements.

Recreational harvesting is limited to Approved and Conditionally Approved recreational areas in the open status.   Recreational shellfishing in closed, Restricted Relay, or Prohibited areas for bait or personal consumption is illegal.   Individuals involved in such illegal activities are subject to fines and imprisonment.  Consuming shellfish harvested in closed areas is a public health risk.

Recreational shellfish may only be consumed by the harvester and family members.  Recreational harvesters cannot sell or barter shellfish.  Shellfish should be promptly refrigerated in a self-draining container and should never be stored in water or hung overboard from a dock or boat.

Shellfishing is only allowed during daylight hours.   Shellfish rakes or tongs must have openings, or spacing between the teeth or prongs, of one inch or larger.  Hard shell clams less than one inch thick, or that will pass through a 1.5 ring, must be returned.  Softshell clams (steamers or long clams) less 1.5" long must be returned.  Oysters less than 3.0" inches long must be returned to the water.

Recreational scalloping is restricted by local laws, ordinances, or regulations which may require a town scallop license, requirements for net size vary on a town by town basis, and harvesting is seasonal.  Please contact the town in where you would like to scallop for further information.  Scallops must not be able to pass through a 2.0 diameter ring and must be collected from a drifting boat; no SCUBA diving or wading is allowed.  If shucking, the shellfish and entails must be properly disposed of and not returned to the waters of the State.  If whole or roe on scallops are to be consumed they may only be taken from waters classified as Approved or Conditionally Approved-Open.

Note: No fresh water areas are classified for the taking of any species of fresh water shellfish.