Shellfishing and clam digging offer family fun in the mud

Shellfishing and clam digging in the mud flats of low tide can be fun for adults and kids. In Maine, towns regulate shellfishing permits and licenses. Many towns sell licenses for recreational and seasonal clamming and shellfishing. Contact the town clerk for information. Be aware of rules for clamming, including time limits (usually daytime only) and limits on catch size and the size of the animal. Towns may occasionally close shellfish beds for conservation of the resource or because of polluted waters. Town clerks or shellfish wardens can tell you the local rules.

Town Hall, 93 Cottage Street Bar Harbor, ME Phone: 207-288-5571

A shellfish license is required to take shellfish from flats located in Bar Harbor. The fees for shell fishing licenses apply only to soft shell clams (steamers). License fees are waived for Bar Harbor residents under 16 and over 65 years of age.
Licenses are available in the Town Clerk's office Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by mail with a completed Shellfish License Application . All Shellfish licenses expire on June 30.
Fees: Resident recreational, $23; non-resident recreational, $45; daily resident recreational, $5; daily non-resident recreational, $10; people age 16 or younger and 65 or older, free.
Shellfishing areas: The open clamming areas in Bar Harbor coincide with the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Bacterial Closure areas on the DMR map for the area. Additional information is available on the Bar Harbor Marine Resources Committee map. The Maine Shellfish Sanitation Hotline number is 800-232-4733.

The towns of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Southport & Edgecomb have a joint shellfish management plan.
Fees: $7 per year for residents and non-residents. Licensing year runs from June 1 to May 31. Purchase a license during office hours from the town clerk at any of the four town halls. Shellfish Warden is Nicholas Upham. Phone: 207-380-5635.
Boothbay Harbor Town Clerk, 11 Howard Street, Boothbay Harbor (207-633-7714)
Boothbay Town Clerk, 1011 Wiscasset Road, Boothbay (207-633-2051)
Southport Town Clerk, 361 Hendricks Hill Road, Southport (207-633-6311)
Edgecomb Town Selectman, ME Route 27 (207-882-7018)

Brunswick Town Hall, 85 Union Street Brunswick, ME Phone: 207-725-6658

Recreational Shellfish Licenses are available to residents and nonresidents. The license is good for one year period beginning the first Monday in April. Applicants must appear in person to fill out an application. The number of available licenses is set annually; non-resident licenses are issued at a rate of one for every ten sold to residents, and the non-resident must get on a waiting list by applying in person at the Town Clerk’s office. Click here for a license application (PDF)
Fees: Residents, $25; free for people age 62 and older. Non-residents, $50; free for people age 62 and older.

Town Clerk, 263 Mountain Road Harpswell, ME Phone: 207-833-5822

The Town of Harpswell issues annual recreational shellfish licenses to Harpswell residents and non-residents. Licenses are valid from April 1 to March 31. Applicants must appear in person to fill out an application. Non-resident licenses are picked by lottery at a rate of one for every ten resident licenses sold. Non-residents can sign up for the lottery starting March 15 in person at the Town Clerk’s office.
Fee: Residents and taxpayers, $10; non-residents, $20
License application
Shellfishing guidelines

Freeport Town Hall, 30 Main Street Freeport, ME Phone: 207-865-4800

All flats bordering the Wolf’s Neck State Park as of December 8, 1983 are now under the jurisdiction of the Freeport Shellfish Conservation Ordinance. Recreational digging for shell fish in Wolf’s Neck State Park does not require a recreational license.
The town issues a resident recreational shellfish license, a nonresident recreational shellfish license, and a limited recreational shellfish license, which applies to one day of fishing. Recreational licenses (except for the limited license) are in effect July 1 through June 30. Licenses are issued by the Town Clerk.
Fees: Resident Recreational, $11; Nonresident Recreational, $22; Limited Recreational, $15. Fee are waived for people age 70 and older. A recreational license is not required for a digger under 12 years of age to engage in recreational clam harvesting. A surcharge of $5 for water quality testing costs is charged to all recreational licenses.
Closures: The Shellfish Hotline at 207-865-2904 is always kept up-to-date on current closure information. If you are not familiar with the geographic information or the local names of places in town, maps posted in the lobby of the Police Department, 16 Main Street, and the Town Hall, 30 Main Street, for the closures. Or you may contact the shellfish warden through the police department at 207-865-4800.

City Clerk, City Hall, 205 Main Street Biddeford, ME Phone: 207-571-0700

The Biddeford City Clerk’s office issues annual recreational shellfishing licenses to residents and non-residents. There also is a one-day recreational shellfishing license. Licenses expires on May 31 next following the date of issuance. Children age 12 or younger do not need a license to assist a recreational shellfish license holder. Shellfishing flats may be closed from time to time.
Fees: Residents, $30; residents age 65 to 70, $10; non-residents, $60; on-residents age 65 to 70, $20; one-day only license, $15. Shellfishers over age 70, free.
Click here to view a local shellfishing map (PDF)