Maryland's Shellfish Harvesting and Closure Area Map

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The map generally depicts the classification of shellfish waters of the State: restricted, conditionally approved, or approved.

Restricted means that no direct harvesting of oysters and clams is allowed at any time. Harvest from restricted areas (private leases and/or aquaculture only) is permitted by request for the purpose of natural cleansing (relay). Request for relay of oysters or clams from restricted waters to approved waters must be made in writing to MDE in advance of possible relay dates. Relay can occur only outside of oyster season and when water temperatures are above 50ºF.

Conditionally approved means that oysters and clams can be directly harvested except for the three days following a rainfall of an inch or greater in twenty-four hours. Harvesters are notified of conditional closings daily by an announcement broadcast by the Maryland Natural Resources Police made at 5, 6, and 7 a.m. on VHF radio band 14, by calling toll free 1-800-541-1210, or by visiting this web site for the daily advisory on conditionally approved shellfish areas.

Shellfish harvesting waters which are open or approved for harvesting are those where harvesting is permitted anytime.

All of the waters lying within the confines of any marina are restricted for the harvesting or storing of shellfish.  Also, all waters lying adjacent to marina facilities located in shellfish waters of the State and capable of accommodating ten (10) or more vessels are restricted for the harvesting or storing of shellfish between May 1st and September 30th of each year.  These restrictions will include that area beyond a marina facility based on the following table:

​            Number of Slips Distance of Restriction Beyond Marina

                  10 - 50         100 feet

                  51 - 100         150 feet

              greater than 100  200 feet

These areas will be reopened to shellfish harvesting each year between October 1st and April 30th.  Any individual owning a marina facility may request a variance for the size of the zone described above in accordance with the marina policy adopted by the Department on August 10, 1987.  Anyone desiring additional information concerning this policy may call MDE, Water and Science Administration at (410) 537-3908.

In addition, near-shore areas (shallow waters up to approximately 200 feet from shore) may appear as approved on the map because of inadequate resolution. These waters may be unmonitored and therefore unclassified as well as unsuitable for harvesting until they are monitored and classified as restricted, conditionally approved, or approved. Interested persons should contact MDE to determine the classification of all near-shore waters.

The classifications displayed in this map are current as of 01/10/2018.

Click here for a Detailed Text Description of the Shellfish Harvesting and Closure Areas.​​​