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Shellfish

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing

2016 Recreational Shellfish Regulations*

SPECIES

Season/Day/Time Restrictions

Size

Limit

License Needed

Notes

Blue Mussels
(Mytilus edulis)

No closed season except for Hampton/Seabrook Estuary and Little Bay/Bellamy River Open Areas

No limit

No limit

No

  • Residents only
  • Personal use only, no sale allowed
  • Harvest by hand or handheld tools only
  • Other mussel species (e.g. horse and ribbed mussel) may also be taken
  • Hampton/Seabrook Estuary only: ½ hour before sunrise to sunset on Saturdays only, open Nov. 1 – May 31
  • Little Bay/Bellamy River Open Areas: Open on Saturdays only from 9 AM to sunset

Oysters

  • Open Sept. – June
  • Sunrise to sunset only, except Little Bay/Bellamy River Open Areas

No limit

½ bushel unshucked/day

Yes

  • Residents only
  • Personal use only, no sale allowed
  • May be taken by hand, hand rake or tongs only
  • No taking through ice
  • No shucked oysters may be possessed while on or leaving N.H. waters
  • Oyster license number must be permanently marked on outside of container
  • Must have oyster license on person
  • Little Bay/Bellamy River Open Areas: Open on Saturdays only from 9 AM to sunset

Sea Scallops

Open November 1
April 14 by diving; December 1April 14 by dredge

Min. 3½ inches
shell height

75 lbs. shucked meats or 625 lbs. unshucked (shell)/day

No

  • Personal use only
  • May be taken by diving or dredge
  • Must be landed in shell if taken by hand

Softshell Clam
(Mya arenaria)

  • Open the first Saturday after Labor DayMay 31 except for Hampton/Seabrook Estuary
  • Saturday only
  • ½ hr. before sunrise to sunset, except Little Bay/Bellamy River open areas

No limit

10 liquid quarts unshucked/day

Yes

  • Residents only (6 years of age or older)
  • Personal use only, no sale allowed
  • License must be displayed in plain view while clamming
  • Clam license number must be permanently marked on outside of container
  • Handheld tools only, with handles not exceeding 18 inches
  • No shucked clams allowed on or while leaving N.H. waters
  • Hampton/Seabrook Estuary only: ½ hour before sunrise to sunset on Saturdays only, open Nov. 1 – May 31**
  • Little Bay/Bellamy River Open Areas: Open on Saturdays only from 9 AM to sunset

Quahog, little neck or cherrystone clam
(Mercenaria mercenaria)

No open season

Other Bivalve Mollusks (surf & razor clams, mahogany quahog)

No closed season except Little Bay/Bellamy River Open Areas

No limit

No limit

No

  • Residents only
  • Harvest by hand or handheld tools only
  • Harvest of surf clams and quahogs limited to approved water within 500 feet of low tide line
  • Little Bay/Bellamy River Open Areas: Open on Saturdays only from 9 AM to sunset

Whelks

  • No closed season
  • Harvest only from 1 hr. before sunrise to sunset

Min. 2½ inches

5/day

No

  • Personal use only
  • Residents only

2016 Commercial Shellfish Regulations*

SPECIES

Season/Day/Time Restrictions

Size

Limit

License Needed

Notes

Sea Scallops

Open November 1
April 14 by diving; December 1April 14 by dredge

Min. 3½ inches
shell height

75 lbs. shucked meats or 625 lbs. unshucked (shell)/day

Yes

  • May be taken by diving or one dredge only
  • Must be landed in shell if taken by hand
  • Helpers working under the Commercial Saltwater License shall not take by diving
  • Dredge: width limit = maximum 4 feet., ring size = 4 inches, minimum mesh size = 10 inches
  • No obstructions or liners attached in dredge
  • Call Marine Fisheries (603) 868-1095 for chafing gear restrictions
  • No possession of other marine species when dredging except surf clams and mahogany quahogs and only in accordance with species regulations

Other Bivalve Mollusks (surf and razor clams, mahogany quahog)

No closed season

No limit

500 unshucked bushels/day

Yes

  • Dredge blade/knife/manifold: maximum 48 inches.
  • Monthly reporting required: Contact Marine Division (603) 868-1095

Whelks

  • No closed season
  • Harvest only from 1 hr. before sunrise to sunset

Min. 2½ inches

No limit

Yes

  • Harvest by pot, trap or other contrivance
  • Each buoy and trap shall be marked with a “W” and the first initial and last name of licensee when fishing solely for whelks

* Temporary closures of shellfishing areas may occur due to high bacteria count or red tide or other pollution concerns. For updates, call the Clam Flat Hotline at 1-800-43-CLAMS.

** Due to unpredictable water quality in September and October, even in dry weather, the opening of the clam flats in Hampton-Seabrook Estuary is delayed until November 1.