Shellfish & Aquaculture

Guide to Direct Sale of Shellfish - Farmer's Markets

Vibrio Risk Management for Commercially Harvested Hard Clams and Oysters in Rhode Island

Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium found in saltwater that can cause gastrointestinal illness in humans; Vibrio can be ingested by eating raw seafood, most commonly oysters, from water containing the bacteria. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management coordinates with the Department of Health (DOH) and Coastal Resource Management Council (CRMC) to ensure that commercially harvested and aquaculture-produced shellfish are safe for human consumption by implementing a Vibrio parahaemolyticus control plan (VpCP) as required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration through the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (a federal/state cooperative program).

The incidence of Vibrio is higher in warmer waters and therefore poses a greater threat during the warmer summer months. The DEM and DOH have regulations in place for both harvesters and dealers to mitigate Vibrio related illness. Please refer to the regulations below for detailed harvest and handling procedures required by the state:

If any of the above links fail, please refer to the Secretary of State website to search for the regulations within the final rules and regulations database