Shellfish (250-RICR-90-00-4)


250-RICR-90-00-4 ACTIVE RULE

4.1 Purpose

The purpose of these Rules and Regulations is to manage the marine resources of Rhode Island.

4.2 Authority

These Rules and Regulations are promulgated pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws Title 20, R.I. Gen. Laws Chapters 42.17.1, 42-17.6, and 42-17.7, and in accordance with R.I. Gen. Laws Chapter 42-35, Administrative Procedures Act.

4.3 Application

The terms and provisions of these Rules and Regulations shall be liberally construed to permit the Department to effectuate the purposes of state law, goals, and policies.

4.4 Definitions

See Marine Fisheries Definitions, Part 1 of this Subchapter.

4.5 Severability

If any provision of these Rules and Regulations, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the validity of the remainder of the Rules and Regulations shall not be affected thereby.

4.6 Superseded Rules and Regulations

On the effective date of these Rules and Regulations, all previous Rules and Regulations, and any policies regarding the administration and enforcement of these regulations shall be superseded. However, any enforcement action taken by, or application submitted to, the Department prior to the effective date of these Rules and Regulations shall be governed by the Rules and Regulations in effect at the time the enforcement action was taken, or application filed.

4.7 General Provisions

A. Recreational harvest: Shellfish harvested recreationally shall not be sold or offered for sale.

B. No person shall take shellfish from waters declared polluted by the Director pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-8.1-3 unless authorized by the Director (ref. R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-8.1-5). This sub-section shall not apply to the harvest of Whelk or Bay scallop. For the water quality status of shellfish grounds subject to conditional closures or emergencies call 401-222-2900. (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-8.1)

C. Night shellfishing prohibited: The harvesting of shellfish is prohibited during the hours between sundown and sunrise (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-6-23).

D. Opening shellfish on water: No person shall possess the meats of six (6) or more shellfish while shellfishing on the waters of the State, or throw the shells of open bay scallops onto bay scallop beds (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-6-21).

E. Conch (whelk) - general provisions:

1. Mutilation and/or possession of conch meat; cooked or uncooked: Prior to landing of any conchs, no person shall mutilate any cooked or uncooked conch by breaking and removing the meat from the shell or have in his or her possession any part or parts of any uncooked conch so mutilated. In any and all prosecutions under this sub-section, the possession of any part or parts of any cooked or uncooked conch so mutilated shall be prima facie evidence sufficient to convict. All conchs are to be landed whole in the shell.

2. Unauthorized hauling of conch pots: No person except the Director may haul, unduly disturb, or remove any animal from a conch pot of a person possessing a valid commercial fishing license to take conch, or from a person fishing recreationally for conch, without the written permission of that person.

3. Unauthorized possession and/or transfer of conch pots: No person except the Director may sell, transfer, or have in his or her possession or control any conch pot or associated line (warp) and/or buoy, without the written permission of the owner.

4. Hauling or setting conch pots at night: No person shall haul or unduly disturb any conch pot within the territorial waters of this state between the hours of one (1) hour after sundown and one (1) hour before sunrise.

F. License Required:

1. Recreational harvest - R.I. resident: R.I. residents are not required to obtain a license for the recreational harvest of shellfish (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-6-1).

2. Recreational harvest - non-resident: A non-resident over the age of twelve (12) years wishing to take or possess shellfish recreationally in Rhode Island waters must obtain shellfish license (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-2-22):

a. Annual: The fee for an annual shellfish license is two hundred dollars ($200). This license will expire on the last day in February annually.

b. 14-day: The fee for a fourteen (14) day tourist license is eleven dollars ($11). This license is valid for fourteen (14) consecutive days only, including the date of issue, and is limited to one (1) license per person per calendar year.

c. Non-resident landowner: A non-resident landowner may, with proof of residential property ownership in the form of a current tax bill from a town or city hall showing that the non-resident landowner is current in his or her property tax obligation, obtain an annual, non-commercial, non-resident shellfish license for a fee of twenty-five dollars ($25) (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-2-22(d)).

3. Commercial harvest: See specific requirements and conditions in DEM’s Part 2 of this Subchapter, “Commercial and Recreational Saltwater Fishing Licensing Regulations”.

a. A commercially licensed fisherman shall only sell, barter, or trade shellfish taken from Rhode Island waters to a licensed shellfish dealer or multipurpose dealer.

b. A commercially licensed fisherman shall not sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer shellfish taken from Rhode Island waters to a licensed shellfish or multipurpose dealer without first presenting said dealer, a valid shellfish license issued by the DEM.

4.8 Equipment Provisions and Harvest Methods

A. SCUBA prohibition: The taking of shellfish by the use of a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) from Green Hill Pond, Quonochontaug Pond, Ninigret Pond, and Potter Pond is prohibited (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-6-30).

B. The use of a diving apparatus is prohibited while recreational shoredigging.

C. Use of devices capable of harvesting shellfish while in polluted areas: No person shall work, cast, haul, or have overboard a dredge, pair of tongs, rake or rakes, air-assisted equipment, water-assisted equipment, or any other implement capable of harvesting shellfish, except for the taking of conch in pots and the use of an implement commonly employed for the taking of bay scallops (within established bay scallop harvest seasons), in waters declared polluted by the Director (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-8.1-6).

D. Power hauling of tongs and bullrakes: Power hauling of tongs and bullrakes for any purpose other than the removal and retrieval of bullrakes and tongs from the benthic sediments is prohibited.

E. Method of harvest of oysters, bay quahaugs, soft‑shell clams: No person shall dig and/or take any oysters, bay quahaugs, soft‑shell clams from the waters of this State by dredge(s), rakes, or other apparatus operated by mechanical power or hauled by power boats, unless as provided for in these regulations.

F. Dimensions for bullrakes and tongs when using power hauling equipment: No person shall use any power hauling equipment in the operation of bullrakes and tongs with dimensions exceeding the following:

1. Maximum width measured along a line parallel to the tooth bar: Thirty-one and one-half (31½) inches;

2. Maximum tooth length: Four and one-half (4½) inches;

3. Maximum basket depth: Twelve (12) inches, measured along a line perpendicular to the tooth bar and extending from the tooth bar to any point on the basket.

4. Possession of bullrakes and tongs in excess of these size restrictions shall be prohibited aboard vessels equipped with any power hauling equipment.

5. Except as required for safety or to avoid property loss, no vessel involved in the harvest of bay quahaugs or oysters by use of bullrakes or tongs may be moved or propelled by any source of mechanical power at any time when any bullrakes or tongs operated from such vessel are submerged in the waters of the state.

G. Tong construction: No person shall take shellfish, or attempt to take shellfish, or have in his possession while on the waters of this State, with tongs not meeting the following dimensions:

1. Minimum tooth gap: Not less than one (1) inch apart.

2. Heads: Heads on the bar or heads constructed with wires, rods, cross­bars, or reinforcement that will form a rectangle shall not be less than one (1) inch by two and one half (2½) inches.

3. A tolerance of one sixteenth (1/16) of an inch is allowed.

H. Bullrake construction: No person shall take shellfish, or attempt to take shellfish, or have in his possession while on the waters of this State, with a bullrake not meeting the following dimensions:

1. Minimum tooth or tine gap: Not less than one (1) inch apart.

2. Crossbars or reinforcement that will form a rectangle shall not be less than one (1) inch by two and one half (2½) inches.

3. A tolerance of one sixteenth (1/16) of an inch is allowed.

I. Quahaug diving basket construction: No commercially licensed diver shall take or attempt to take quahaugs from the waters of the State of Rhode Island with a diver’s quahaug harvesting basket, bag, or combination of basket and bag, or similar device not meeting the following dimensions:

1. Bar spacing: Not less than one (1) inch by two and one half (2½) inches. A tolerance of one sixteenth (1/16) inch is allowed.

2. Bag mesh on the quahaug harvesting basket: Not less than two (2) inches when measured on the stretch (from inside of knot to inside of the knot). A tolerance of one eighth (1/8) inch for variance in the twine is allowed. The bag shall be hung on the square so that when held by the mouth, the twine forms fully opened squares.

J. Dredging of bay scallops:

1. Maximum number of single dredges used: Six (6) single dredges.

2. Maximum width of dredge blades: Twenty-eight (28) inches.

3. Maximum length of bag: Thirty-six (36) inches.

4. Each single dredge shall be towed and hauled aboard the registered vessel individually. All oysters, soft-shell clams, or bay quahaugs shall be immediately returned to the waters from which they were taken (R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 20-6-7 and 20-6-19).

5. Areas where bay scallop dredging is prohibited: The use of bay scallop dredges is prohibited in closed areas of Shellfish Management Areas, as identified in these regulations.

K. Dredging of blue mussels:

1. When dredging for blue mussels, all bay scallops, oysters, or bay quahaugs shall be immediately returned to the waters from which they were taken (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-6-7).

2. Blue Mussel Dredging Permit: A permit issued from the Director is required for the commercial dredging for blue mussels. Applications shall be made annually on forms prescribed by the Director, and may be obtained by contacting the DEM Marine Fisheries, 3 Fort Wetherill Road, Jamestown, RI 02835 (423-1923) (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-6-7).

L. Dredging of surf clams and ocean quahaugs:

1. Surf clam gear restrictions:

a. Hydraulic dredging: The maximum width of a dredge blade, knife or manifold is forty-eight (48) inches.

b. Multiple dredge restriction: It is unlawful for any vessel to operate more than one dredge while harvesting for surf clams.

2. Areas prohibited for the dredging of surf clams or ocean quahaugs: All waters north of a line extending from Church Point in the town of Little Compton, to Flint Point in the town of Middletown; and north of a line extending from Castle Hill Point in the city of Newport, to Southwest Point in the town of Jamestown and to Bonnet Point in the town of Narragansett.

3. Tagging of cages: Shellfish cages must be tagged in accordance with the United States Food and Drug Administration/RIDOH regulations before being off-loaded in Rhode Island.

M. Dredging for sea scallops:

1. Maximum dredge size for a vessel in possession of sea scallops: Ten and one-half (10½) feet.

2. Minimum dredge ring size: Four (4) inches.

3. The minimum mesh size of a net, net material or any other material on the top of a sea scallop dredge (twine top) possessed or used by vessels fishing with sea scallop dredge gear/net size of twine top is ten (10) inch square or diamond mesh.

4.9 Minimum Sizes

A. Bay quahaug: One inch (1") shell thickness (hinge width) (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-6-11).

B. Soft-shell clam: Two inches (2”) measured as the shell diameter or parallel to the long axis of the clam (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-6-11).

C. Oyster: Three inches (3”) measured parallel to the long axis of the oyster (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-6-11).

D. Bay scallop: The taking or possession of a seed Bay scallop is prohibited. Seed bay scallops shall be immediately returned to their natural beds in the water from which taken (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-6-17).

E. Surf clam: Five inches (5”) measured parallel to the long axis of the clam.

F. Sea scallop: Three and one-half inches (3½”), measuring in a straight line from the hinge to the part of the shell furthest from the hinge, whether caught within the jurisdiction of this State or otherwise.

G. Conch: Three inches (3”)(76.2mm) shell width or five and three eighths inches (5 3/8”)(136.5 mm) shell length.

4.10 Seasons

A. Bay quahaug, soft-shell clam, blue mussel, sea scallop, conch, surf clam, and ocean quahaug:

1. Open daily in waters other than Shellfish Management Areas, unless otherwise closed due to pollution or other management purposes.

B. Oyster: September 15 through May 15 annually.

C. Bay scallop:

1. Dip-netting from a boat: Open only from the first Saturday in November through December 31 annually.

2. Dredging: Open only from December 1 through December 31 annually.

4.11 Daily Possession Limits in Waters Other Than Shellfish Management Areas

A. Recreational - R.I. resident:

1. Bay quahaug, soft-shell clam, surf clam, blue mussel, and oyster: One half (½) bushel per person per day (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-6-1).

2. Bay scallop: One bushel per person per day (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20‑6‑1).

3. Conch: One half (½) bushel per resident per day; and maximum of one bushel per vessel per day.

a. Conch pot limit: Maximum of five conch pots in the water at any one time.

4. Sea scallop: Forty (40) pounds shucked; or five bushels of in-shell scallops per vessel per day.

B. Recreational - Licensed non-resident:

1. Bay quahaug, soft-shell clam, surf clam, blue mussel, and oyster: One peck per person per day (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-6-10).

2. Bay scallop: The harvest or possession of Bay scallops by non-residents is prohibited.

C. Conch: The harvest or possession of conchs by non-residents is prohibited.

D. Sea scallop: Forty (40) pounds shucked; or five (5) bushels of in-shell scallops per vessel per day.

E. Commercial:

1. Bay quahaug:

a. Multi-purpose (MPURP) and Principal Effort License (PEL) holders: Twelve (12) bushels per person per day (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20‑6‑10).

b. Commercial Fishing License (CFL), Student shellfish license, and Over-65 shellfish license holders: Three (3) bushels per person per day (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-2.1-5).

2. Soft-shell clam: Twelve (12) bushels per person per day (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20‑6‑10).

3. Oyster: Three (3) bushels per person per day (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20‑6‑10).

4. Bay scallop: Three (3) bushels per person per day; and maximum of three (3) bushels per vessel per day (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20‑6‑16).

5. Surf clam: Two hundred (200) bushels per person per day.

6. Ocean quahaug: Twenty six (26) cages or eight hundred thirty two (832) bushels per person per day.

7. Sea scallops: For non-federally permitted vessels, four hundred (400) pounds of shucked; or fifty (50) bushels of in-shell scallops per vessel per day.

8. Conch: Thirty five (35) bushels per vessel per day.

a. Commercial conch pot limit: Maximum of three hundred (300) conch pots per licensee in the water at any one time.

4.12 Shellfish Management Areas - Descriptions, Seasons, and Possession Limits

4.12.1 General

A. Conimicut Point, Potowomut, High Banks, Bissel Cove/Fox Island, Mill Gut, Bristol Harbor, Kickemuit River, Jenny’s Creek, Sakonnet River, Pt. Judith Pond, Potter Pond, Ninigret (Charlestown) Pond, Quonochontaug Pond, Winnapaug Pond, Green Hill Pond, Narrow River, Little Narragansett Bay/Pawcatuck River, Providence/Seekonk Rivers, Warren River, and Town Pond are declared Shell­fish Management Areas pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-3-4.

B. Shellfish Management Areas may have additional regulations specific to the Management Area. Refer to each Management Area listed below.

1. In Shellfish Management Areas, shoredigging is open daily at reduced Shellfish Management Areas possession limits, unless closed due to pollution or other management purposes.

2. Commercial boat harvest schedule in Shellfish Management Areas: Recommendation for a change to the default schedules specified herein shall be submitted to the Director at least sixty (60) days prior to the first proposed opening date.

3. Greenwich Bay Area’s 1 & 2:

a. The schedule for the month of December may include up to 48 hours of permitted shellfishing, spread over any number of days during the month, excluding December 25.

b. If weather or water quality conditions during the month of December prevent opening on two or more scheduled days, the DEM may modify the December schedule to allow for additional hours or days of permitted shellfishing.

C. Daily possession limits:

1. Recreational - R.I. resident:

a. Bay quahaug, soft-shell clam, surf clam, blue mussel, and oyster: One peck per person per day.

b. Bay scallop: One bushel per person per day.

c. Conch: One half (½) bushel per resident per day; or if a vessel with more than one (1) resident onboard is used, a maximum of one (1) bushel per vessel per day.

d. Conch pot limit: Five (5) conch pots in the water at any one time.

2. Recreational - licensed non-resident:

a. Bay quahaug, soft-shell clam, surf clam, blue mussel, and oyster: One half (½) peck per person per day.

b. Bay scallop: The harvest or possession of Bay scallops by non-residents is prohibited.

c. Conch: The harvest or possession of Conch by non-residents is prohibited.

3. Commercial:

a. Bay quahaug, soft-shell clam, blue mussel, surf clam and oyster: Three bushels per person per calendar day; maximum of six (6) bushels per vessel per calendar day;

(1) A maximum of two (2) licensed persons per vessel is allowed.

(2) Possession limit for shore-digging in Greenwich Bay Management Area sub-areas 1 and 2: The possession limit is three (3) bushels per person per day whenever GB sub-area 1 is open to boat harvest, but one (1) peck per person per day whenever GB sub-area 1 is not open to boat harvest.

b. Bay scallop: Three (3) bushels per person per day; maximum of three (3) bushels per vessel per day.

c. Conch: Thirty five (35) bushels per vessel per day. Commercial conch pot limit: Maximum of three hundred (300) conch pots per licensee in the water at any one time.

4.12.2 Shellfish Management Areas

A. Greenwich Bay (GB): Described as the waters west of a line between the flagpole at the Warwick Country Club and the end of Sandy Point on the Potowomut Shore, in the town of East Greenwich and city of Warwick.

1. GB sub-area 1: Described as the waters east of a line between the DEM range marker located at the end of Neptune Street in Chepiwanoxet to the DEM range maker located on Cedar Tree Point, and north of a line between the far northeastern section of Chepiwanoxet Point and the westernmost flagpole on Promenade Street, Old Buttonwoods.

2. GB sub-area 2: Described as the waters west of a line between Sally Rock Point and the westernmost flagpole on Promenade Street, Old Buttonwoods; and south of a line between the far northeastern section of Chepiwanoxet Point and the westernmost flagpole on Promenade Street, Old Buttonwoods.

3. Commercial boat harvest schedule for GB sub-areas 1 and 2:

a. January 4, 2016 through April 28, 2016: Open from 8:00A.M. to 12:00P.M. noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

b. Default commercial boat harvest schedules for GB sub-areas 1 & 2: If no action is taken to establish specific harvest schedules annually, the following schedule shall be in effect by default:

c. Open 8:00A.M. to 12:00P.M. noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, beginning on the second Wednesday of December and continuing through the last Friday in April, excluding December 25 and January 1 annually.

4. GB Area 3: Described as the waters east of a line between Sally Rock Point and the westernmost flagpole on Promenade Street, Old Buttonwoods, and west of a line between the flagpole at the Warwick Country Club and the end of Sandy Point on the Potowomut Shore.

a. Commercial boat harvest schedule: Open daily.

B. Conimicut Point: Described as the waters south of a line running from the pole (Latitude: 41° 43’ 2.93” North, Longitude: 71° 21’ 27.68” West) on Conimicut Point to the center of the Old Tower at Nayatt Point; and north of a line from the western most extension of Samuel Gorton Avenue in the city of Warwick, and the southernmost extension of Bay Road in the town of Barrington.

1. Harvest schedule: Open daily.

2. The reduced Shellfish Management Area possession limit applies only to soft-shell clams.

C. Potowomut: Described as the waters at the mouth of Greenwich Bay south of a line between the flagpole at the Warwick Country Club to the seaward end of Sandy Point and north of a line between and the seaward end of Pojac Point to buoy "G1" (Round Rock) to the Warwick Lighthouse, including all the waters of the Potowomut River seaward of the Forge Road Spillway, in the towns of East Greenwich and city of Warwick.

1. Area A: Described as the waters west of a line between the seaward end of Sandy Point and buoy “G1” (Round Rock) and north of a line between the seaward end of Pojac Point to buoy "G1" (Round Rock).

a. Harvest schedule: Open daily.

2. Area B: Described as the triangular area east of a line between the seaward end of Sandy Point and buoy “G1” (Round Rock) and west of a line between the flagpole at the Warwick Country Club and buoy “G1” (Round Rock) and south of a line between the flagpole at the Warwick Country Club to the seaward end of Sandy Point. Area “B” is closed to shellfishing until further notice.

a. Harvest schedule: Closed except for the harvest of bay scallops by dip-netting from a boat during the open season for bay scallops.

3. Area C: Described as the waters east of a line between the flagpole at the Warwick Country Club and buoy “G1” (Round Rock) and north of a line from buoy "G1" (Round Rock) to the Warwick Lighthouse.

a. Harvest schedule: Open daily.

D. High Banks: Described as the waters of the upper west passage south of a line between the seaward end of Pojac Point to the Round Rock buoy “G1” and north of a line from the seaward end of the fence between the former Davisville Navy property and Pettee Street in the Mount View section of North Kingstown to “N6” buoy located mid-bay west of Prudence Island. The area is bounded on the east by a line projecting from the easternmost end of Pier 2 at Davisville to the Round Rock buoy “G1” and is bounded to the west by the shore, in the town of North Kingstown.

1. Harvest schedule: Open daily

E. Bissel Cove/Fox Island: Described as the waters of Bissel Cove in its entirety and adjacent waters of Narragansett Bay south of a line between Pole #275 at the corner of Waldron and Seaview Avenues and the southwestern most point of Fox Island (south of the cable area), west of a line from the southwestern most point of Fox Island to the northern most point of Rome point, in the town of North Kingstown.

1. Commercial boat harvest schedule:

a. Beginning the 2nd Wednesday of December through April 30, 2016: Open daily for the harvest of bay quahaugs, soft-shell clams, and blue mussels.

b. May 1 through November 30 annually: Closed.

c. Default commercial boat harvest schedule: If a previously established boat harvest schedule expires, the following default schedule shall be in effect:

(1) Open 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, beginning on the second Wednesday of December and continuing through the end of April annually. Harvest is prohibited on December 25 and January 1 annually.

d. Oyster harvest moratorium: The harvest and possession of oysters in the Bissel Cove/Fox Island Shellfish Management Area is prohibited until November 15, 2020.

F. Mill Gut: Described as the waters of Mill Gut, lying south of the northern-most bridge on Colt Drive, in the town of Bristol.

1. Harvest schedule: Open for the harvesting of bay quahaugs, soft-shell clams, blue mussels, and oysters only between the second Wednesday in December and April 30 annually.

G. Bristol Harbor: Described as the marine waters of Bristol Harbor and its tributaries located south of a line extending between CRMC permitted dock #419 located at 163 Poppasquash Road in the town of Bristol to and the northwest corner of the Rockwell Pier municipal parking lot in the town of Bristol; and north of a line beginning extending from the north side of CRMC Permitted Dock #1601 where it meets the shoreline, located at 363 Poppasquash Road in the town of Bristol and the northwest corner of the U.S. Coast Guard station pier in the town of Bristol.

1. Commercial boat harvest schedule:

a. December 2015: Closed.

b. Beginning January 11, 2016: Open 8:00A.M. to 12:00P.M. noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

c. February 1 through April 30, 2016: Open daily.

d. May 1 through November 30 annually: Closed.

e. Default commercial boat harvest schedule: If a previously established boat harvest schedule expires, the following default schedule shall be in effect:

(1) Open 8:00A.M. to 12:00P.M. noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, beginning on the second Wednesday of December and continuing through the end of April. Harvest is prohibited on December 25 and January 1 annually.

H. Kickemuit River: Described as the waters of the Kickemuit River north of a line connecting nun buoy 6 and can buoy 1 at Bristol Narrows.

1. Harvest schedule: Open daily.

I. Jenny’s Creek: Described as the waters of Prudence Island including Jenny’s Creek north of the inlet at Pine Hill Cove.

1. Harvest schedule: Closed except for the harvest of bay scallops by dip-netting from a boat during the open season for bay scallops.

J. Sakonnet River: Described as the waters north of a line from Sachuest Point to Sakonnet Light. The northern boundary is an east/west line across the Sakonnet River lying one quarter (1/4) mile south of the pipeline found just south of Black Point, so-called; the western boundary is a north/south line running from Flint Point to Taggert’s Ferry, so-called, in the town of Middletown.

1. The possession limit for surf clams is two hundred (200) bushels/vessel/day.

2. A bycatch of one (1) bushel of bay quahaugs for each ten (10) bushels of surf clams, not to exceed twelve (12) bushels of bay quahaugs, is allowed per vessel.

K. Point Judith Pond: Described as the waters of Point Judith Pond, including East Pond, in their entireties, in the towns of South Kingstown and Narragansett.

1. Harvest schedule: Open daily.

L. Potter Pond: Described as the waters of Potter Pond in its entirety, west of the bridge at Succotash Road, in the town of South Kingstown.

1. Harvest schedule: Open daily.

2. Closed area: The harvest and possession of shellfish is prohibited, except for the harvest of bay scallops by dip-net from a boat during the open season for bay scallops, in the following area: The area within Sycamore Cove defined as north of a line running easterly from a special DEM marker located at N 41 degrees 23 minutes 2.0 seconds, W 71 degrees 32 minutes 13.0 seconds; to a second special DEM marker located at N 41 degrees 23 minutes 1.0 second, W 71 degrees 31 minutes 59.5 seconds; and bound by the northern pond shoreline between the special DEM markers.

M. Ninigret (Charlestown) Pond: Described as the waters of Ninigret Pond in its entirety, in the town of Charlestown.

1. Harvest schedule: Open daily.

2. Western Closed area: The harvest and possession of shellfish is prohibited, except for the harvest of bay scallops by dip-net from a boat during the open season for bay scallops, in the following area: The waters within an area formed by the following points: from (“A” N 41 degrees 20 minutes 41.7 seconds W 71 degrees 41 minutes 24.3 seconds, the northeast corner of the Ninigret Conservation Area parking lot) following the shoreline to (“B” N 41 degrees 20 minutes 49.6 seconds W 71 degrees 41 minutes 4.6 seconds, a DEM sign approximately 500 meters eastward of “A”); from “B” northward to (“C” N 41 degrees 21 minutes 31.0 seconds W 71 degrees 41 minutes 22.2 seconds, the Lavin’s Landing Marina launching ramp); from “C” following the shoreline to (“D” N 41 degrees 21 minutes 10.1 seconds W 71 degrees 41 minutes 40.9 seconds, a DEM sign on the westernmost end of Reeds Point); from “D” southward to “A”.

3. Foster Cove Northern Closed Area: The harvest and possession of shellfish is prohibited in the following area: The waters within an area formed by the following points: from (“A” N 41 degrees 21 minutes 58.7 seconds, W 71 degrees 40 minutes 33.8 seconds [41°21'58.7"N, 71°40'33.8"W]) to a point 125 feet south-southeast (“B” N 41 degrees 21 minutes 57.5 seconds, W 71 degrees 40 minutes 34.4 seconds [41°21'57.5"N, 71°40'34.4"W]), to a point xxx feet east-southeast (“C” N 41 degrees 21 minutes 56.5 seconds, W 71 degrees 40 minutes 31.1 seconds [41°21'56.5"N, 71°40'31.1"W]), to a point 125 north-northeast (“D” N 41 degrees 21 minutes 57.8 seconds, W 71 degrees 40 minutes 30.5 seconds[41°21'57.8"N, 71°40'30.5"W], from “D” westward to “A”.

a. These areas shall remain closed until January 1, 2020, unless extended by the Director after RIMFC review.

4. Foster Cove Eastern Closed Area: The harvest and possession of shellfish is prohibited in the following area: The waters within 75 feet of shore beginning at a point (“A” N 41 degrees 21 minutes 49.3 seconds, W 71 degrees 40 minutes 24.8 seconds [41°21'49.3"N 71°40'24.8"W]) continuing along the shore to a point northwest (“B” N 41 degrees 21 minutes 52.4 seconds, W 71 degrees 40 minutes 31.0 seconds [41°21'52.4"N 71°40'31.0"W]), continuing along the shore to a point east-southeast (“C” N 41 degrees 21 minutes 51.6 seconds, W 71 degrees 40 minutes 23.6 seconds [41°21'51.6"N 71°40'23.6"W]).

a. This area shall remain closed until January 1, 2020, unless extended by the Director after RIMFC review.

N. Quonochontaug Pond: Described as the waters of Quonochontaug Pond in its entirety, in the towns of Charlestown and Westerly.

1. Harvest schedule: Open daily.

2. Closed areas:

a. Western closed area: The harvest and possession of shellfish is prohibited in the following area: Described as the waters south of a line running easterly from the special DEM marker at the end of Quahaug Point (N 41 degrees 20 minutes 0.0 seconds, W 71 degrees 44 minutes 39.5 seconds), to a second special DEM marker at the northern end of Nope’s Island (N 41 degrees 20 minutes 5.0 seconds, W 71 degrees 44 minutes 1.0 second). The area will be bordered on the west by a line running south from Quahaug Point to a special DEM marker located on the barrier beach shoreline (N 41 degrees 19 minutes 50.0 seconds, W 71 degrees 44 minutes 40.0 seconds). The southern boundary will be the shoreline between the barrier beach special DEM marker and Nope’s Island special DEM marker.

b. Eastern closed area: The harvest and possession of shellfish is prohibited, except for the harvest of bay scallops by dip-net from a boat during the open season for bay scallops, in the following area: Described as the waters east of a line running southerly from the special DEM marker located at N 41 degrees 21 minutes 1.1 seconds W 71 degrees 42 minutes 33.4 seconds, to a second special DEM marker located at N 41 degrees 20 minutes 41.0 seconds W 71 degrees 42 minutes 44.1 seconds; and bound by the eastern pond shoreline between the special DEM markers.

3. The harvest and possession of oysters in Quonochontaug Pond is prohibited until September 15, 2021.

O. Winnapaug Pond: Described as the waters of Winnapaug Pond in its entirety, in the town of Westerly.

1. Harvest schedule: Open daily.

2. Closed Area: The harvest and possession of shellfish is prohibited, except for the harvest of bay scallops by dip-net from a boat during the open season for bay scallops, in the following area: Described as the waters north of a line running easterly from a special DEM marker at Big Rock Point (N 41 degrees 19 minutes 49.0 seconds, W 71 degrees 47 minutes 57.0 seconds), to the special DEM marker at the southern end of Larkin's Island (N 41 degrees 19 minutes 55.0 seconds, W 71 degrees 47 minutes 5.0 seconds). The area will be bordered on the east by a line running northwesterly the Larkin's Island special marker to a special DEM marker adjacent to the end of Bayside Avenue (N 41 degrees 19 minutes 58.0 seconds, W 71 degrees 47 minutes 9.0 seconds). The northern boundary is the shoreline between the Bayside Ave special DEM marker and the Big Rock Point special DEM marker.

P. Green Hill Pond: Described as the marine waters of Green Hill Pond and its tributaries in its entirety, in the towns of South Kingstown and Charlestown.

1. Harvest schedule: Closed except for the harvest of bay scallops by dip-netting from a boat during the open season for bay scallops.

Q. Narrow River: Described as the marine waters of the Narrow River in its entirety, in the towns of Narragansett, South Kingstown, and North Kingstown.

1. Harvest schedule: Closed except for the harvest of bay scallops by dip-netting from a boat during the open season for bay scallops.

R. Little Narragansett Bay and Pawcatuck River:  Described as the marine waters of Little Narragansett Bay and Pawcatuck River within the State of Rhode Island which are northeast of a line from the DEM range marker on a pole (Latitude 41.3217 º N, Longitude 71.8787 º W) near the southeastern extremity of Sandy Point to a DEM range marker on a pole (Latitude 41.3103 º, Longitude 71.8775 º W) on the northern shoreline of Napatree Point, including all waters of the “Kitchen” so called, and those waters northeast of the southwest shoreline of Sandy Point to the state line. Harvesters should refer to the above latitudes and longitudes for the closure line if the range markers and or poles are no longer present.

1. Harvest schedule: Closed except for the harvest of bay scallops by dip-netting from a boat during the open season for bay scallops.

S. Providence and Seekonk Rivers: Described as the marine waters of the Providence River and Seekonk River and their tributaries located north of a line extending from the flagpole (Latitude: 41° 43’ 2.93” North, Longitude: 71° 21’ 27.68” West) located at Conimicut Point in the city of Warwick and the center of the Old Tower at Nayatt Point; and southerly and seaward of the Hurricane barrier in the city of Providence; and southerly and seaward of the Main Street Dam in the city of Pawtucket.

1. Harvest schedule: Closed except for the harvest of bay scallops by dip-netting from a boat during the open season for bay scallops.

T. Warren River Shellfish Management Area: Described as the marine waters of the Warren River and its tributaries located north and east of a line extending from the flagpole at 178 Adams Point Road on Adams Point in Barrington to the DEM range marker at Jacobs Point; and southerly and downstream of the Main street/Route 114 bridge at its intersection with the Barrington River in the town of Barrington; and southerly and downstream of the Main street/Route 114 bridge at its intersection with the Palmer River in towns of Bristol and Warren.

1. Harvest schedule: Closed except for the harvest of bay scallops by dip-netting from a boat during the open season for bay scallops.

U. Town Pond: Described as the marine waters of Founders Brook and Town Pond in their entirety, in the town Portsmouth.

1. Harvest schedule: Closed except for the harvest of bay scallops by dip-netting from a boat during the open season for bay scallops.

V. Jacobs Point Shellfish Management Area:  Described as the marine waters of the Warren River south of a line extending from the DEM range marker on the shore north of Jacobs Point, located at 71°17'12.104"W, 41°42'51.541"N, to nun buoy 12; and east of a line extending from nun buoy 12 to the DEM range marker on the shore south of Jacobs Point, located at 71°17'28.61"W, 41°42'36.91"N.

1.     Harvest schedule:  Open daily.

2.     The reduced Shellfish Management Area possession limit applies only to oysters.  The commercial possession limit for oysters is one (1) peck per person per day.

4.13 Wet Storage of Shellfish

No person shall engage in wet storage of molluscan shellfish without first obtaining a dealer's license from DOH and DEM.

4.14 Commercial Handling of Shellfish

A. Commercial shellfishermen shall conduct all activities and operations involving or relating to the possession and handling of shell stock so as to prevent contamination, deterioration and decomposition of such shell stock.

B. Containers used for storing shell stock must be clean.

C. Boat decks and storage bins used in the harvest or transport of shell stock shall be kept clean with potable water or water from the growing area in approved classification or the open status of conditional areas.

D. Commercial shellfishermen using a vessel to harvest and transport shell stock shall assure that said vessel is properly constructed, operated and maintained to prevent contamination, deterioration and decomposition of shell stock.

E. Commercial shellfishermen using a vessel to harvest and transport shell stock shall prevent bilge water from coming into contact with shell stock.

F. Commercial shellfishermen using a boat to harvest and transport shell stock shall provide such vessel with effective drainage to avoid contact between bilge water and shell stock.

G. Commercial shellfishermen using a vessel to harvest and transport shell stock shall locate bilge pumps so that discharge shall not contaminate shell stock.

H. Shell stock shall be washed reasonably free of bottom sediments as soon after harvesting as possible. The harvester shall be primarily responsible for washing shell stock. If shell stock washing is not feasible at the time of harvest, the dealer shall assume this responsibility. Water used for washing shall be from a potable water source, or growing area in the approved classification or open status of the conditionally approved classification.

I. The discharge of human sewage from a vessel used in the harvesting of shell stock, or from vessels that buy shell stock, within waters of the state is prohibited.

4.15 Commercial Tagging of Shellfish

A. Commercial shellfishermen must place any and all shellfish taken by them (except those shellfish returned to the waters of the harvest area) into containers, and must tag each and every container with a “harvester tag” conforming to the requirements of this sub-section, prior to shellfish being placed in the container.

B. The harvester tag shall be durable, waterproof, and sanctioned by the R.I. Department of Health. The tag shall contain the following indelible, legible information in the order specified as follows: The harvester’s identification number as assigned by DEM; the date of harvest; the harvest commencement time; the harvest location as identified on the R.I. Shellfish Harvest Area Tagging Map; the shellfish management area; the type (species) of shellfish; and the approximate quantity of shellfish. The harvest commencement time will indicate the time that the first shellfish that the harvester is currently in possession of was removed from the water and should be the same for all shellfish that the harvester is in possession of regardless of tagging area.

C. Each tag shall also carry the following statement in bold capitalized type: “This tag is required to be attached until container is empty or it retagged and thereafter kept on file for 90 days". Commercial shellfishermen shall not place shell stock harvested from more than one growing area into the same container. When the harvester is also a dealer, the harvester has the option to tag the shell stock with a harvester tag or a dealer’s tag meeting the requirements of the RIDOH regulations.

D. Bulk tagging of shell stock will be permitted only with prior approval of the Director under the following criteria:

1. When shell stock are harvested from one harvest area on a single day, multiple containers may be utilized on a wrapped pallet, in a tote, in a net brailer, or other container and the unit tagged with a single tag; and,

2. A statement that all shell stock containers in this lot have the same harvest data and area of harvest; and number of containers in the unit.

4.16 Commercial Temperature Control of Shellfish

A. Commercial shellfishermen shall not allow shell stock to deteriorate or decompose from exposure to excessive temperature and shall deliver shell stock to a licensed dealer before such deterioration or decomposition occurs.

B. Harvest of shellfish from sunrise November 1 through sunset March 31 annually: The maximum allowable time between the commencement of harvest of shell stock and delivery to a dealer shall be twenty hours. Possession of shell stock in excess of 20 hours is prohibited.

C. Harvest of shellfish from sunrise April 1 through sunset October 31 annually: The maximum allowable time between the commencement of harvest of shell stock and delivery to a dealer shall be 10 hours. Possession of shell stock in excess of 10 hours is prohibited.

1. The harvester shall provide shading to all shellfish intended for harvest aboard vessels and during land-based deliveries.

2. Harvest of quahogs or oysters from within Designated Temperature Control Areas that exceed five hours to complete shall be placed in mechanical refrigeration or adequately iced in a storage container within five (5) hours of the commencement of harvest until the shellfish are transferred to a licensed dealer within 10 hours.

D. Ocean quahaugs, surf clams, and whelks are exempt from temperature control requirements.

4.17 Shellfish Transplant Regulations

A. The Director is authorized and directed, after requiring all necessary safeguards, to transfer shellfish from uncertified waters of the State to approved areas. The Director may make Rules and Regulations governing the re-harvest of those shellfish to the best economic benefit of the state after all necessary safe­guards to insure their cleanliness (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20‑6‑26).

B. Any person participating in the transplant program shall surrender his commercial license to the conservation officer or DFW employee afloat on the transplant bed or otherwise stationed to collect licenses. The license must be surrendered before the participant commences digging shellfish.

C. The boundaries of the transplanting area shall be marked with designated corner markers. All shellfishermen participating in the transplant program shall harvest shellfish only within the boundaries of the transplant area so marked.

D. No shellfisherman shall commence harvesting shellfish in the transplant area before the hour at which the transplant program is scheduled to commence. Hours of transplanting shall be publicized in advance.

E. Shellfishermen participating in the transplant program shall bring no shellfish into the transplant area before beginning the transplant. Any shellfish on board a participant's boat shall be considered transplant shellfish, dug from the transplanting area.

F. Any participant in the transplant program shall be considered to have completed his participation in the program when he presents his shellfish to the "buy boat/buy station" for counting/weighing. If the method of transplanting involves diggers planting their own catch in the transplant bed, the shellfisherman shall first present his catch to the authorized DEM officer for counting/weighing, and shall then proceed directly to the planting area. Once the shellfisherman commences to remove the shellfish from his boat to the "buy boat/buy station" or into the transplant bed, he shall remove all shellfish from his boat before changing location. Any change of location shall indicate that the shellfisherman has cleared his boat of shellfish and is ready for inspection and return of license by DEM officers. No shellfish shall be aboard any participant's boat at the time of inspection.

G. Temporary creation of a transplanting area shall in no way affect the polluted status of the waters therein, or of any waters surrounding the transplanting area and declared polluted.

H. Violation of any of these provisions shall be punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 30 days in jail.

I. Agents of the DEM may limit the maximum allowable harvest by each participant in a transplant. Agents of the DEM may limit the number of participants in a shellfish transplant program provided that the limit is determined in a fair and equitable manner (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20-6-29).

J. Dredging, Raking, and Tonging in Transplant Beds: Those areas to which the shellfish are transferred shall be marked out, and dredging, raking, or tonging on them shall be prohibited except under the special direction of the Director (R.I. Gen. Laws § 20‑6‑27).

Title 250 Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
Chapter 90 Marine Fisheries
Subchapter 00 N/A
Part 4 Shellfish (250-RICR-90-00-4)
Type of Filing Amendment
Regulation Status Active
Effective 04/29/2018

Regulation Authority :

R.I. Gen. Laws Title 20, R.I. Gen. Laws Chapters 42.17.1, 42-17.6, and 42-17.7, and in accordance with R.I. Gen. Laws Chapter 42-35, Administrative Procedures Act.

Purpose and Reason :

Amendment to rule (section 4.12(V)) to establish a new Shellfish Management Area ("Jacob’s Point Shellfish Management Area"); several non-substantive technical corrections/clarifications were also adopted.

There are no electronic rulemaking documents for rules filed prior to August 14, 2018. For rulemaking documents for rules filed prior to this date, please contact the appropriate agency's Rules Coordinator.