Shellfish and Invertebrates
Bivalve shellfish harvest areas may be closed at any time due to dangerous bacterial and biotoxin levels. To check for up-to-date openings and closures:
- View closed areas (prohibition orders) in real time using the new shellfish mapping tool.
- Call your nearest DFO Office to speak to a fishery officer and check for prohibition and variation orders in your area.
- Check the Orders Registry to see all existing orders in the Maritimes Region.
- For more information, review these frequently asked questions about what you need to know before you harvest.
Clam & Quahog
The information included here pertains to the following clams/quahogs:
- Bar clam
- Bay quahog
- Razor clam (jackknife)
- Soft shell clam
No person shall fish for clams in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick from sunset to sunrise (open sunrise to sunset)
The Maritimes Region is divided into seven Clam Harvesting Areas (CHA).
Nova Scotia – Bay of Fundy, Atlantic Coast and Bras d'Or lakes
- CHA 1: Inland and tidal waters of the counties of Colchester, Cumberland and Hants that border and flow into the Bay of Fundy
- CHA 2: Inland and tidal waters of the counties of Annapolis, Digby and Kings
- CHA 3: Inland and tidal waters of Yarmouth County
- CHA 4: Inland and tidal waters of the counties of Shelburne, Queens and Lunenburg and that portion of Halifax County West of Pennant Point
- CHA 5: Inland and tidal waters of Guysborough County and that portion of Halifax County East of Pennant Point
- CHA 6: Inland and tidal waters of the counties of Richmond and Cape Breton, all of Victoria county except that portion between Cape North and Inverness County and that portion of Inverness county that borders on the Bras d'Or lakes
New Brunswick – Bay of Fundy
- CHA 7: Inland and tidal waters of the counties of Charlotte, Saint John and Albert that flow into the Bay of Fundy
Size Limits (per the Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations, and subject to any variation orders that may be in place)
- Bar clam: 76mm all CHAs
- Bay quahog: 38 mm all CHAs
- Razor clam: no size limit
- Soft shell clam:
- CHA 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7: 44 mm
- CHA 5: 50 mm
Daily Limits (per the Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations, and subject to any variation orders that may be in place)
- CHA 1: daily limit is 100 clams/quahogs in total
- CHA 2:
- Annapolis Basin: daily limit is 100 clams/quahogs in total
- Remainder of CHA 2: daily limit is 200 clams/quahogs in total
- CHA 3: daily limit is 200 clams/quahogs in total
- CHA 4:
- Shelburne County: daily limit is 150 clams/quahogs in total
- Remainder of CHA 4: daily limit is 300 clams/quahogs in total
- CHA 5: daily limit is 300 clams/quahogs in total
- CHA 6: daily limit is 300 clams/quahogs in total
- CHA 7: daily limit is 100 clams/quahogs in total
Hand and handheld tools only
No licence required
Fishing for mussels in the Bay of Fundy is prohibited.
300 mussels per day
No licence required
- Normally September 15 to November 30 (refer to licence conditions)
- Fishing seasons vary depending on area. Please call the nearest DFO Office or check the Maritimes Orders Registry for up-to-date openings and closures before harvesting shellfish.
No recreational oyster fishing permitted in Cape Breton Island, including the Bras d’Or Lake.
25 oysters per day
Minimum size is 76mm
- Tongs or rakes only
- No diving permitted
- Licence required
- Currently limited to existing licences only
All recreational scallop fishing in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick requires a DFO licence and is subject to closures which are specified in the conditions of licence. Please call the nearest DFO Office or check the Maritimes Orders Registry for up-to-date openings and closures before harvesting shellfish.
Season dates vary by area and are specified in licence conditions
Dip, dive or tong
- The minimum scallop size that may be retained is based on shell height, varies by area and is specified in licence conditions.
- The daily scallop bag limit is 100.
Required, per licence conditions
- A DFO licence is required and available in the National Online Licensing System. The licence cost is $10 (plus HST).
- The DFO licence is valid from Cape North, Cape Breton, NS to the Canada/US border in NB (Scallop Fishing Areas 28A, 28B, 28C, 28D and 29).
Marine worm harvesting is conducted by hand or with hand-held tools on mud flats throughout Maritimes Region. For management purposes, the Region is divided into six “marine worm harvest areas” (MWHAs). These are described in detail in licence conditions. Recreational licences are available on an open-entry basis. (MWHA 2 and MWHA 3 are managed as one area, and access under a licence is for both.)
- The season runs from January 1st to December 31st.
- It is subject to closed times in designated areas at certain times of the year.
- Closed times and areas are updated annually and are listed in licence conditions.
- The minimum marine worm size that may be retained is 2.5 grams in MWHA1 and 3.0 grams in all other areas.
- The daily marine worm daily marine worm bag limit and daily marine worm possession limit is 50.
The harvest is limited to designated mud flats within each MWHA.
A DFO licence is required and available in the National Online Licensing System. The licence cost is $10 (plus HST).
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