Recreational Shellfish Harvest

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The expanse of marshlands, tidal creeks and sound systems that make up the Georgia coastline produce an abundance of seafood for residents and tourists alike. Oysters and clams are very abundant in many areas and provide excellent table fare when managed and handled properly. Molluscan shellfish are filter feeders and therefore have the potential to accumulate high levels of biological and chemical contaminants that may be present in the water surrounding their habitat. Like many other state shellfish programs, Georgia’s Coastal Resources Division routinely monitors water quality conditions along the coast to ensure that waters meet classifications for harvest as prescribed in the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP). Guidelines of the NSSP ensure that waters are routinely tested and classified to prohibit the taking of shellfish for human food purposes from any areas not classified as “approved” and to deal with emergency closures related to extreme weather events.

In Georgia, recreational shellfish harvest is only permissible in designated public harvest areas as shown in the map below. A Georgia Fishing License is required to harvest shellfish and may only be taken using handheld implements. Shellfish may only be harvested between the hours of thirty minutes before official sunrise and thirty minutes after official sunset. It is unlawful to sell any shellfish that was harvested for recreational purposes.

Shellfish Limits

Oysters must measure no less than three inches from hinge to mouth, unless the oyster cannot be removed from a legal-sized oyster without destroying it. For clams, the maximum depth from one shell half to the other must be at least three-fourths' inch thick.

Recreational quantity limits are up to two bushels of oysters and one bushel of clams per person per day, with a maximum limit of six bushels of oysters and one bushel of clams per boat per day.

Shellfish Maps - Brochures with maps of public recreational shellfish harvest areas for

Use the printable maps above to take with you.