Oysters & Clams

Fishing Regulations Icon Maryland Fishing

Maryland residents may harvest oysters and clams for recreational purposes. No license is required.

Refer to maps of Maryland Shellfish Harvesting Areas for information on areas of restricted waters, closures, and coordinates of sanctuaries online via


You may also call the Maryland Department of the Environment hotline 800-541-1210 to obtain information on conditional closures due to water quality or other environmental issues.

Recreational shellfish regulations for the Potomac River can be found at prfc.us.

It is Illegal

  • To take oysters or clams for recreational purposes while aboard a vessel where any person is engaged in commercial oystering or clamming.
  • To recreationally harvest oysters or clams within a leased area, harvest reserve area, sanctuary or any other area closed by the state.
  • To harvest oysters or clams if you are not a resident of Maryland.*

* However, a nonresident may harvest clams in Worcester County.



Oct 1–March 31

Daily Harvest Restrictions

1 bushel/person/day

Time of Day Restrictions

Harvest is only permitted:

  • Monday–Friday: Sunrise to 3 p.m.
  • Saturday: Sunrise until noon

Gear Restrictions

Note that certain areas are reserved for Hand Tongs Only where no diving or other gears other than hand tongs are allowed to harvest oysters. These areas are described in COMAR and can be found here: http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/comarhtml/08/ The areas should be marked with buoys. For questions related to Hand Tong Only area lines or buoys or to request a chart of a specific area, contact the Hydrographics Unit at (410) 643-6521.

A person may catch oysters ONLY by:

  • Culling
  • Diving (includes SCUBA)
  • Hand
  • Shaft tongs
  • All shell and undersized oysters shall be returned to the bar from which they were caught.

Minimum Size Limits

Three inches measured from hinge to
bill along the longest part of the shell.

How to Measure Oysters

Hard Clams

Daily Harvest Restrictions

250 clams/person/day

Gear Restrictions

Limited to hand-operated gear only, including hand rakes. Mechanical harvesting is not allowed.

Minimum Size Limits

One inch transverse measurement

How to Measure Clams

Rangia Clams

The Rangia clam is often found in Maryland in low salinity water. Many of these areas, especially those within 200 feet of shore, have not been tested or approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment for shellfish harvest, and the consumption of these clams is not recommended.

Rangia clams should not be confused with the better-known hard clam found primarily in the Coastal Bays.