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Recreational Shellfishing

Recreational Shellfishing in Branford

Call (203) 315-0678 for current information.


  • Permits are available from the Town Clerk's office or from a Commission member.
  • Permits must be carried on the person when shellfishing.
  • Permits are required for any person age 16 or older taking shellfish.
  • Permits may not be loaned, resold, or transferred to any other individual.
  • Permits are valid for the calendar year they are purchased.
  • Fees are as follows
    • Resident  $5.00
    • Non-resident $50.00
    • Non-resident daily $10.00
    • Branford Seniors (65+) No Charge

Daily Limits

License holders are restricted to the following size and daily limits:

  Daily Limit Size Limit
Blue Mussel 1/4Bushel 2 inches on long axis
Steamer Clam 1/4Bushel 2 inches on long axis
Oysters** 1/2 Bushel 3 inches on long axis
Razor Clam 1/8 Bushel 3 inches on long axis
Round Clam 1/2 Bushel ***1-1/2 inches

* 1/2 bushel is equivalent to a 5-gallon pail filled not more than 2 inches from the top

** Oysters must be culled on the bed.

*** Round Clams may not pass through 1 1-1/2 inch ring in any orientation.


No shellfishing is allowed between sunset and sunrise.

Shellfish Areas

See map for areas presently open. Any other areas not included are closed. Call (203) 315-3909 for information on openings and closings of recreational shellfishing beds each day before going. Additional information will be included on the shellfishing number (315-3909) and published in local news media as it becomes available.

All rivers and streams are permanently closed to shellfishing. 

Branford Shellfishing Handout

Public, Private Property and Shellfish Beds

A shellfishing permit allows fishing in designated public waters, but does not grant the right to trespass on private property. It is important for the fisherman to understand private and public domains. Along the shoreline, private property stops at the top of the mean high tide water mark while land below this mark is the public domain. Entry to public fishing areas must be made: 1) through public land; 2) through private land with the owner’s permission; or 3) by boat. No recreational shellfishing is allowed in areas A, C, D and the Thimble Island anchorage area, as they are privately leased or deeded shellfish grounds.


Individual areas are subject to openings and closures following periods of heavy rainfall, sewer system discharges and also periodically to facilitate shellfish management. Call (203) 315-3909 for up-to-date information.

A white OPEN sign or a red CLOSED sign is posted at Limewood Beach.


Please respect the rights of neighboring residents. Illegally parked vehicles are subject to towing at the owner’s expense.

Harvest Methods

Shellfishing is easiest in warm weather at low tide where clams and oyster can frequently be picked by hand. A rake is helpful, especially in deeper water and in colder seasons. Some form of footwear is important, especially around oysters. A basket or bucket with drain holes supported by an inner tube or foam floatation is helpful for holding the catch. Remember to observe the size limits for each species.

Use of dredges is prohibited.

Management and Enforcement

Enforcement of shellfishing regulations in Branford is carried out by multiple agencies including the Branford Shellfish Commission, Branford Police Department, Connecticut State Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture, and the Department of Environmental Protection. It is the fisherman’s responsibility to abide by all state and local regulations pertaining to shellfishing. Penalties can be severe for possessing undersized shellfish or exceeding the daily limit. The prudent fisherman will have some method, such as a 1- ½ inch diameter ring, for measuring the catch.

Guide to Shellfishing Along the Coast of Connecticut

From the Connecticut Sea Grant Extension, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture compiled by Tessa S. Getchis

A  guide to regulations, fees and illustrations of the different shellfish available along the Connecticut shoreline.

Last Updated: Fri, 05/01/2020 - 1:42pm