UPDATE: Shellfishing closed in Wareham

Jan 06, 2018

Update: The statewide shellfishing ban enacted following the Jan. 4 storm is lifted. In Wareham, shellfishing remains closed due to local regulations that prohibit shellfishing when the temperature is below 32 degrees.

Comments (11)
Posted by: totellthetruth | Jan 05, 2018 09:38

Shellfishing in Wareham should have been closed for the last week and a half, as the temperature has not got above 32 degrees and Wareham has a minimum temp. for harvesting shellfish.

Posted by: totellthetruth | Jan 05, 2018 09:38


Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jan 05, 2018 09:43

TTT, is that rule for all shellfish or just soft shelled clams?

Posted by: totellthetruth | Jan 05, 2018 09:56

To borrow a bit of your "sarcasm" Unless oysters, mussels,quahogs, and scallops(remember them) have anti-freeze in their shells I would think they would be subject to the same regulation.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jan 05, 2018 13:18

Oysters and scallops are out of season so they're not being harvested now. Wareham's ribbed mussels, although some people eat them,are not normally harvested so they're not subject either.  I know that digging steamers below freezing is not allowed because the bycatch and seeds left behind will freeze.  However, I have seen commercial quahog guys bull raking in the cold.  So I was thinking that quahogging was allowed.


If you think about it, I think some shellfish do have some kind of antifreeze ability.  The ribbed mussels clustered in the saltmarsh and the oysters laying above low tide line are exposed to the cold every low tide and they somehow survive.  Nature sure is amazing.

Posted by: totellthetruth | Jan 06, 2018 19:16

WBTS, I cordially invite you to read the story in its entirety, read it carefully, do not skip any words.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jan 07, 2018 08:45

I read.  I learned.  32 degrees for all shellfishing.  Thanks.


I guess I was only thinking softshell because I was digging those on Swift's Neck one time on a cold day.  The warden kindly approached me and said that I shouldn't be.  He let me keep my catch but made sure I carefully buried back the little ones and filled everything level to prevent freezing.  He explained how everything  left behind will freeze otherwise.  That experience made me focus on soft shelled.

Now I know it's all shellfish.  Thanks


Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jan 07, 2018 09:48


I Googled the topic and came across a Wareham Week thread of comments from January of 2015 in which you, Gary B, and others had a similar dialogue about 32 degrees.  Gary did mention that harvesting could be done in 2' of water. That's why  i mentioned bullraking.  Yet your point was valid regarding once the quahogs are in the boat and exposed to freezing temperatures.  I agree with you. There also we're points in those comments that aligned with my experience with soft shelled clams and the seeds. That all makes sense too.


One thing that amazes me.  Why don't mussles freeze to death?  They are not  fully buried in mud.  They are clustered by the thousands in the marshes and exposed to freezing temperatures at low tide.



Posted by: totellthetruth | Jan 07, 2018 18:47

It seems "surface" shellfish, steamers, oysters,mussels, and to a lesser extent scallops, can tolerate a short period of time exposed at low tide.I believe that when the temp. gets this cold the period of toleration is much less. If you were around Wareham/Onset 25 yrs ago there was a cold snap much like we are experiencing now. We used to have a tremendous oyster/mussel bed at the end of Sias Point. After that Winter there was nothing out there but empty shells.That was the year car sized chunks of ice were floating in the Canal.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jan 07, 2018 20:31

That makes sense.  Under normal winter temperatures, many factors would contribute to some level of resistance such as salinity, partial submersion in mud, the temperature of the mud bed itself.  With mussles it could be shelter from peat, cordgrass, etc.  Yet these zero degree temps are a different story.  I'll bet there will be a lot of empty shells this year.


I remember that winter.  The canal was an amazing sight.






Posted by: greycat | Jan 08, 2018 13:09

The government is protecting us again!  Don't you feel so much safer?  How did we exist before? Why are we all not dead?

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