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Contact information:

Albert Palmer – Shellfish/Harbormaster Office @ Town Wharf
2061 Main Road, Westport, MA. 02790
Gary Sherman, Shellfish Constable/Wharfinger

Office phone: 508-636-1105
Shellfish Status Hotline 508-636-1104
Shellfish Licenses and Permits can be purchased at the Town Hall 8:30-4:00pm Monday through Friday at the Town Clerk’s Office

Shellfish and Scallop Rules and Regulations

These rules and regulations are made by the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Westport under the authority of Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 130, Section 52. The voters of the Town of Westport in town meeting assembled on the eleventh of March 1947, authorized by unanimous vote the Westport Board of Selectmen to take control and regulate or prohlbit the harvest of eels, marine worms and shellfish including scallops as provided by the above Massachusetts statute. These rules and regulations shall supersede any former shellfish and scallop rules and regulations and shall continue in force until altered, amended, rescinded or replaced by the Board of Selectmen, or until their authority to make and enforce shellfish and scallop rules and regulations is repealed. Click here to download a complete text of this document

Aquaculture - Applicable Laws, Regulations and Bylaws

The following laws apply to Aquaculture in Westport under MGL Chapter 130, Sections 57 through 68 inclusive, Code of Mass Regulations 322 CMR 3.03 and 6.20, Town of Westport Bylaws Article XLIV, Section 4401 through 4410.5. ( Click here to download a complete text of this document.)


Along with the purchase of a License, you receive a Shellfish & Scallop Regulation Booklet. In it you will find information on species of shellfish, quantities which can be taken, manner in which shellfish can be taken and a map of the river that outlines areas where shellfishing is permissible. Forms can be obtained at the Town Clerks office for Commercial Shellfishing, Commercial Salt Water Fishing and for Lobster licenses.

Licenses are not required at this time for Crabs or Blue Crabs.

Types of Licenses, Fees, Limits

A) Family Licenses $ 25.00 ** 1 Peck Twice per Week

*Proof of residency or property ownership is required to obtain this Town License and this license covers husband, wife and children living at home under the age of 21 only.

B) Senior Shellfish License $10.00 ** 1 Peck Twice per Week

*For residents or property owners who are 65 or older.

C) Commercial License $100.00 * 4 Bushels per Day

*Require State License and are only valid in the Town you physically reside in.

D) Special Shellfish License $ 30.00 * 11/2 Bushels per Day

*To any resident under sixteen years of age, who has written permission from a parent orguardian to obtain such permit. Applicant must also have State License.

E) Non-Resident Family License $100.00 ** 1 Peck Twice per Week

*For people residing in Massachusetts, but not in Westport. This license covers husband, wife and children living at home under the age of 21.

F) 14-Day Permit $ 50.00 ** 1 Peck Twice Per Week

*For people residing out of state and renting in Westport.

G) Dredging License $300.00 * 100 Bushels

**Issued to residents of the Town, may also be issued in the name of a boat provided the boat is owned and operated by resident of the Town.

H) Family Scallop License $25.00 ** 1 ½ Bushel per Week

I) Senior Scallop License $10.00 * 1 ½ Bushel per Week

J) Commercial Scallop License $150.00 * 7 Bushels per Day

K) Non-resident Family Scallop $125.00 ** 1 ½ Bushels Per Week

L) Duplicate License $5.00

* See Shellfish Regulations Booklet for Commercial Limits by Species. Page 9 & 10 ** See Shellfish Regulations Booklet for Family Permit Specie Limits. Page 8

Shellfish Department Enhancement Program

1) Contaminated Relays

This year the Department transplanted 1000 bushels of Quahaugs in three areas of the River. Davis Road Site, Ram Island Site and the Half Moon Flat Site. They will open one at a time starting October 15th/November 15th and December 15th. Call the Shellfish Hotline @ 508-636-1104 to receive current status of openings.

River Areas

The Westport River is comprised of Two Branches. The East Branch approximately 1800 Acres and the West Branch approximately 1400 Acres. The Indian Names for the these Two Branches were the Noquochoke for the East and the Acoaxet for the West.

There are restrictions in both branches regarding when you can shellfish. All areas are open one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset . Some areas may be closed due to fecal contamination, which washes in when a rain event occurs. These areas are in the East Branch and the West Branch. In the East Branch a 1” rain event closes the area from the signs 500 feet north of the Masquesatch across the River to the sign at Fisherville, then northerly to a sign at Pettey Heights and across the River to signs at Gunning Island and over to signs at Julius Way. This area consists of approximately 500 acres. The next area restricted by rain fall is a .20 (two tenths inch) area from the signs on the Northern end of the 1” restricted area northerly to signs @ 1280 Drift Road and Cadmans Neck. This area is approximately 800 acres. North of this line is a restricted seasonal area, and it runs to the signs just North of Hix Bridge at Dr.’s Point and across to the signs at the gravel pit on the opposite side of the River. All of the restricted areas close for five days, and reopen on the sixth day after the rain event, unless another rain event over the amount, occurs during that closure time period. Hence, it starts again. From the signs at the Gravel Pit and Dr.’s Point northerly is a permanently closed area and no Shellfishing is permitted. In the West Branch there is a .20 (two tenths inch) closure from the sign North of Carry’s Boat Yard across the river to Tom’s Point. Then Northerly to signs and buoys at Judy’s Island and up to Angeline Cove then across to the sign on the shore at Irish Island. This area also closes for five days opening on the sixth after the event. You can see the map in the center of your Shellfish and Scallop Regulations Booklet and always check the Hotline Number 508-636-1104 for the most current updates.

Projects: Seed Programs

The Shellfish Department currently has two methods of seed procurement. One is a Hatchery at the Commercial Wharf, which is at the end of Main Road. The Hatchery was built by the Southeast Shellfish Association for the sole purpose of hatching out shellfish from our own adult stocks. This past season (2008) we had Roger Williams Students breeding and spawning the quahogs. Under the direction of Nicole Daigle, they grew algae to feed the adults and the juvenile animals until they were large enough to be placed in the down-weller and eventually to the up-weller systems at the facility. This year 200,000 were raised and released in the river. Also this year we are working with Bristol Community College Professor, Bob Rack and his students through the D. M. F. (Division of Marine Fisheries) with their up-weller system. They purchased 50,000 – 3 millimeter sized quahogs and we matched it, with 50,000 for them to grow. In return Westport will receive the 100,000 animals this fall (after being tested for QPX) and field plant them throughout our rivers.

We are also working with the SSA in the River at the tidal up-weller just north of Rt. 88 bridge. The association purchased 57,000 – 14-18 millimeter sized quahogs and the Town matched that number. They are growing theirs in half of the up-weller system and we are using the other half for ours. This fall we will plant all of them in the river. Another project we are doing is through Durfee High School, which got money from the Westport Fisherman’s Association to purchase 60,000 seed to be grown in the closed system in the school lab. They grew the algae and maintain the system during the Marine Science class. These seed also came back to Westport waters. The final seed portion is a purchase through the Department. We were able to acquire a grant through Representative Michael Rodrigues office in the Legislature for $67,000 over a three year time period. We are currently in the last phase of $23,000 and again will purchase 350,000 seed – 14-18 millimeters to field plant this fall. Some other ways we raise money to purchase these shellfish are through the annual Clamboil at LePage’s Seafood Restaurant in April and through the Lee’s Receipts program and from Donations.

These three program monies are deposited in the Department Shellfish Propagation fund for the sole purpose of purchasing Shellfish for the River. If you wish to donate to the fund you can send your checks or Lee’s Receipts to the Shellfish Department via the Board of Selectmen’s Office or the Town Clerk’s Office. Your check is Tax Deductible.

Remember to always call the Shellfish Status Hotline at 508-636-1104. It’s there to help you.

Recent Posts

Recent news and calendar items from the Shellfish & Wharfinger Department

Scallop Season

BOS Agenda 11-16-09

Westport Housing Authority Vacancy

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