Recreational Shellfish Harvesting in New Hampshire

Recreational harvesting of various shellfish types is a popular activity among New Hampshire residents. Here are some important points to note:

  • License Requirements: State licenses are necessary for harvesting softshell clams and oysters. However, other shellfish may have specific restrictions but generally do not require a license.

  • Harvesting Techniques:

    • Softshell Clams: These clams are typically dug from flats at or near low tide. Proper clam digging techniques are essential for successful and sustainable harvesting.
    • Oysters: Oysters are retrieved from their shallow beds using specialized tools like tongs or can even be picked up by hand.
  • Seasons, Limits, and Regulations: For specific guidelines regarding the season, limits, and other requirements for harvesting shellfish, refer to the Shellfish regulations.

Online Shellfish Maps for Easy Harvesting Updates

Shellfish harvesters now have a convenient tool to track the status of clam flats and coastal areas for harvesting. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services offers an interactive website where you can receive updates, including red tide alerts, on your mobile phone or computer.

Key Features:

  • Interactive Maps: View areas open for harvest directly on the website's interactive maps.
  • Alerts: Sign up for free text or email alerts to receive updates on your preferred devices.
  • Convenience: Get the same information as the weekly Clam Hotline message but delivered directly to your devices.

How to Access:

  • Website: Visit on your personal computer.
  • Sign-Up: Register for text or email alerts to stay informed about the latest shellfish harvesting status.

Great Bay Shellfish Open/Closed Areas

New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing: Shellfish Areas

Oyster Reef Restoration Area Closure Notice

Attention shellfish harvesters,

Please be aware that a designated fifteen-acre area near Nannie Island in Great Bay is temporarily closed to the harvesting of clams, oysters, and other bivalve mollusks. This closure spans a five-year period, extending through October 31, 2026.

Closure Details:

  • Location: The closed area is situated near Nannie Island in Great Bay.
  • Identification: Orange buoys labeled "Oyster Restoration Site" mark the four corners of the closed area.
  • Duration: The closure remains in effect until October 31, 2026.
  • Exceptions: Woodman Point and Nannies Island natural oyster reef beds, as depicted on the map, remain open to shellfish harvesting.

For additional information and updates, please visit

New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing: Shellfish Areas

N.H. Coast Shellfish Open/Closed Areas

New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing: Shellfish Areas
New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing: Shellfish Areas

Clam Flat Hotline

For the latest information on closed and open shellfishing areas, call Fish and Game’s Clam Flat Hotline at 1-800-43-CLAMS. The hotline is updated weekly on Friday afternoons, but harvesters should check back frequently for unscheduled updates. For those harvesting in Little Bay and Bellamy River open areas check the hotline after 9 a.m. on Saturdays for any updates. Information is also posted at and on the NH Coastal Atlas at

Did You Know?

Only New Hampshire residents are allowed to purchase licenses for the taking of clams and oysters.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.