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Clamming in Southern Maine

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

I would love to try clamming anywhere from Portland to Kittery. I understand every town has different rules on clamming. I heard once, that at OOB and Scarborough, you didn't need a permit to go clamming, you could take one bucket a day. Is someone setting me up to get cited, or is that true? Is there anywhere in Southern Maine you can go clamming without a license?
post #2 of 31



I pokes around the interwebs looking for an answer... Might be worth calling the DMR to find out an exact answer...

post #3 of 31
I was always under the impression that you were allowed half a bushel a day. Ill dig them quite a bit when I'm down at OOB during the summer for striper bait.
post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
I thought I had heard about OOB wasn't sure. I don't know if they are safe from red tide, but I just want some for bait. If anyone hears about anywhere else I'd like to know. Thanks!
post #5 of 31
You need a permit for Scarborough, to dig steamers, not sure about OOB
post #6 of 31
I'm talking about surf/hen clams
post #7 of 31
No permit is required to dig Hen clams. The area you choose to dig in must be open. That can be found on the Maine DMR website. There is no limit on the amount you take.
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
This has been extremely informative, thank you all. I just hit the DMR website and it looks like the entire southern Maine coast is closed to digging, but then when you open the PDF documents they are all 3 years old. How confusing can this be! Again, thanks to everyone!
post #9 of 31
Just a heads up on digging surf clams in Scarborough & OOB. They have been completely wiped out over the last 10 years and you would be pretty lucky to come up with 1 or 2 for a day of digging. 100s of Cambodians come up from Boston right as the snow melts and destroy the beach for a few days and then there are none left. DMR says there is nothing they can do about it as it is legal the way they have the rules set up, Warden I talked to said there are some violations in terms of rake sizes and whatnot but he doesn't bother since the resource is already destroyed.

Edit: If you are just digging for bait you can dig in the closed areas for steamers but you must dye them blue (or green?) as soon as you are done collecting them. This marks them as not fit for human consumption. However they probably are safe considering they way they test the water is pretty messed up and they tend to stir up the muck as they collect and get an incorrect reading because of it. Also closed and open areas are sometimes 100 feet apart, so who knows.

"The harvesting of marine mollusks from closed areas for the use of bait or other uses not meant for
human consumption, if the harvesting takes place according to rules adopted by the commissioner."

Chapter 49 Shellfish Bait Permit regulations are the regulations or rules established for this exemption and may be found in the following link:

The shellfish bait harvester permit regulation also contains a reference to reporting which may be found in Chapter 8.20(J):


I went online and located the legal notice that describes and maps the water quality closures in that area. I have attached a link to this document as well as a link to all of the water quality and red tide closures. It looks like the closures for this area are listed under growing areas WF and WG; area number 10.

Maine DMR Bacterial Closures: Shellfish Pollution Area Inventory

It does appear that most of the area is closed to the taking of shellfish; however, if you look at the map there does appear to be a small seasonal opening at Hills Beach and also an opening in the area known as the pool. I don’t know if the Town requires a municipal license for shellfish harvest or not. Denis-Marc Nault could answer that question for you or you could call the Biddeford Town Office.

I did not see any red tide closures for soft shell clams but there are some other species that are closed for red tide in the area such as ocean quahogs and certain whelks. Maine DMR PSP (Red Tide) Closures: Shellfish Biotoxin Area Inventory You can call Darcie Couture at the Booth Bay Harbor Lab for more info: 633-9570

I am going to give you some contact information for Department staff that covers the southern Maine region in case you have any follow up questions.
1. Loraine Morris, Water Quality: 633-9513
2. Marine Patrol Division 1 Boothbay Harbor: 633-9595
3. Denis-Marc Nault, supervisor of the municipal shellfish program: 422-2092

I hope this is helpful but not overwhelming.

Hannah Annis
Department of Marine Resources
Division of Shellfish Management 949-4498.

Laurice U. Churchill
Regulations Officer
Maine Dept. of Marine Resources
PO Box 8
West Boothbay Harbor, ME 04575-0008
Phone: 207.633.9584
Cell: 207.441.2125
Fax: 207.633.9579
post #10 of 31
Maybe I'm not sure exactly what kind of clam I'm digging during the summer then. I always thought they were surf or hen clams and there's always quite a few of them at low tide in waist deep water.
post #11 of 31
Not certain where people get their info but I can assure this area is not dug out. So shire that I can dig enought clams for an entire season in one trip. You gotta know where to go!
post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thank you all very much for this information. I think at the moment I am
More confused than ever. I'd like to hit OOB this week and see what happens.
post #13 of 31
I was only talking about the obvious public beaches in Scarborough/OOB if you have some good place to go, I am sure there are still some good clamming areas. "I have checked them on a regular basic and it is really hard to get that many of these (sea/hen) clams. The resource has been destroyed and the state wont let us restrict them. Just a heads up OOB past Parcher Ave is Closed." - As quoted from Dave Corbeau, Marine Resource Officer
post #14 of 31
My post was in reference to the Saco Bay area from Biddeford all the way to Scarborough. This area is far from devastated. To suggest it is untrue.
Its not the Marine Patrol Officers job to give up the keys to the candy store simply to protect it as it relates to the harvest.
To solve this issue would involve thinking outside the box. Perhaps talking with an oldtimer as to what was done thirty years ago to ensure the continuance of this resource is in order.
post #15 of 31
Just relating what I knew about the situation. Maybe there are mounds of 'em, I just haven't seen very many, if any; in baskets when I walk pine point and see all the clammers out. Take me with you next time and show me the way!
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