Conditionally Approved Areas & Shellfish Closures


For your convenience, the below active alert box is used to distribute information on water quality-related shellfish harvesting closures of Conditional Areas and emergency closures from harmful algal blooms, sewage releases, etc.

A link to a reference map and written descriptions of all RI shellfish waters with seasonal and year-round water quality related shellfish harvesting closures are provided below.

As required by RI General Law § 20-8.1-3 DEM will continue to use the 24-hour shellfish hotline (401-222-2900) as the primary tool for providing notice of harvesting restrictions.

Information regarding shellfish management restrictions, minimum sizes, and possession limits: Shellfish & Regulations.

polluted area warning sign

Rhode Island shellfish harvesting waters are divided into three classifications– Approved, Conditionally Approved and Prohibited. In order to arrive at a classification long term routine monitoring and annual shoreline survey data is compiled and maintained to ensure compliance with shellfish water quality standards promulgated by FDA.

To determine the classification of certain waters or to learn more about how these classifications were determined, please visit "Shellfish Area Descriptions" and "Shellfish Maps".

In addition to the written descriptions of each area and the maps outlining the boundaries numerous range markers that may consist of signs, flag poles, docks, bulkheads, painted objects or other fixtures located along the shoreline have been installed to demarcate closure or classification lines.

The shellfish program with the assistance of RIDEM enforcement officers makes every effort to maintain these range markers to inform shellfish harvesters. It is an ongoing task with weather, tides, storms and vandals sometimes damaging or removing these markers.

If you should see (or not see) a range marker that is in need of repair or replacement please call us at 401-222-4700 or send an email to giving the location you noticed the missing or damaged range marker.

Be sure of where shellfishing is allowed. If in doubt, read the description of the closure in the document "Notice of Polluted Shellfish Grounds".

If you have a question call us at 222-4700 or email us at:

Shellfish Classifications

There are three classifications of shellfish harvest waters in the State of Rhode Island.

Classification Harvesting Activities
Approved Harvesting Allowed
Conditionally Approved Harvesting Allowed except under certain conditions caused by rainfall, wastewater treatment plant by-passes or on a seasonal schedule
Prohibited NO Shellfish Harvesting Allowed

Call 401-222-2900 (24/7) for information on CONDITIONALLY APPROVED areas of Upper Narragansett Bay, Greenwich Bay, Mount Hope Bay, or the Kickemuit River or Point Judith Pond and emergency closures.