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Shellfishing Regulations
Recreational shellfish regulations are designed to both promote and protect shellfish supplies for recreational harvesters, giving them the opportunity to enjoy this natural resource. They will tell you how, when, what to harvest, and how many to keep. Shellfish areas are rotated to allow juveniles time to develop into legal size. Provincetown's rotating recreational shellfish areas are east and west of the West End breakwater, the East End of town and Hatches Harbor. Recreational harvesters are not allowed to rake in designated shellfish aquaculture areas.

The Town's Shellfish Constable is on the flats both, to assist shellfishers, and to enforce these regulations.

1) The Provincetown tidelands shall be closed to the taking of quahogs, soft-shelled clams, oysters and razor clams except in areas designated by the Board of Selectmen under the conditions herein imposed.

2) The Town Clerk, to any legal resident or real estate taxpayer, upon receipt of a $15.00 annual fee shall issue a family permit for the non-commercial recreational taking of shellfish. Residents or taxpayers shall be issued a free shellfish permit at age 65 or older. The fee for a non-resident shellfish permit is $50.00 and the fee for a weekly permit is $25.00. Annual permits are valid for one year beginning on November 1st.

3) Quahogs must be one inch thick, soft-shelled clams must be two inches long, oysters and razor clams must be three inches long and sea clams must be five inches long. Possession of a gauge is required or you will be denied access to the tidal flats.

4) The weekly limit for recreational permit holders for any combination of quahogs, soft- shelled clams, oysters and razor clams is either one level 10 quart pail or a peck shellfish basket. No other containers are allowed. The surf clam limit is 2 pecks per week and may be taken any day with no time of year restrictions from MA DMF approved or conditionally approved areas with an open status. If bay scallops are abundant the Shellfish Constable will post notice of open season and the recreational limit shall be two pecks per week.

5) Certain days may be specified for the recreational taking of quahogs, oysters, razor clams and soft- shelled clams. This information will be posted in the Town Clerk's office. Harvesting is limited to daylight hours, sunrise to sunset.

6) No permit is required for sea worms, moon snails, periwinkles and mussels, which may be taken year round from MA DMF approved or conditionally approved areas with an open status.

7) Upon leaving the flats all recreational shellfish harvesters must report to the Shellfish Constable who maintains a record of the Town's yearly harvest.

8) All persons harvesting shellfish must re-bury undersize shellfish to protect them from both the weather and predators.

9) Violations of the above regulations shall be punishable by a fine of no less than $50 and no more than $300 and/or revocation of license or permit.

Amended October 10, 2017


Town of Provincetown
260 Commercial Street
Provincetown, MA 02657
Ph: (508) 487-7000
Fx: (508) 487-9560