ALL shellfish digging on Westport Island requires a valid license issued by the Town. Fees collected through the license program will be used for seeding and other operations necessary to maintain and grow the shellfish population. It is unlawful for any person to dig or take shellfish from the shores and flats of Westport Island without having a current license that is signed and dated, and your license must be shown to any law enforcement official or Shellfish Warden who requests to see it.
The shellfish season begins on May 1 of each year. Licensing follows the process contained in Section 5 of the Town of Westport Island Shellfish Conservation Ordinance.
Purchasing a license
Licenses may be purchased at the Town Office during normal office hours. The Westport Island Town Office is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays. License applicants must produce two pieces of acceptable identification showing their current residence address.
Resident Commercial Shellfish License (2 licenses available)…………$150.00
Non-Resident Commercial Shellfish License (2 licenses available)……$300.00
Resident Recreational Shellfish License (31 licenses available)………..$ 15.00
Non-Resident Recreational Shellfish License (4 licenses available)…....$ 30.00
Recreational Licenses for those under 12 years of age or over 65 years of age are free; but licenses from the Town Office are still required.
A Commercial Harvester License Credit program has been created to establish priority in issuing commercial licenses. Details of this credit program are available at the Town Office.
Areas open to harvesting
To keep current on areas open to shellfish digging, you may consult the following sources (Westport Island is covered in State Marine Resources Areas 21-B, 21-C, 21-D and 21-E):
- Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Shellfish Sanitation Hotline: 1-800-232-4733
- DMR’s Bacteriological Closure website; or
- DMR's Red Tide Shellfish Closure website.