Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Closed Areas
There are a number of areas closed to the harvesting of surfclams and ocean quahogs. Such areas are closed either due to environmental degradation, concentrations of undersized surfclams, or due to toxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). See below for charts and coordinates of closure areas.
Boston Foul Ground
The Boston Foul Ground is closed to all surfclam or ocean quahog fishing. It is located at 42°25'36" N. lat., 70°35'00" W. long., with a radius of 1 nautical mile in every direction from that point.
New York Bight and 106 Dumpsite
The New York Bight (also see below for detailed map and coordinates) and 106 dumpsite are closed to all surfclam or ocean quahog fishing. The 106 Dumpsite is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:
|106 Dump Site|
|1||39º 00’||72º 30’|
|2||39º 00’||72º 00’|
|3||38º 40’||72º 00’|
|4||38º 40’||72º 30’|
|1||39º 00’||72º 30’|
New York Bight Closure Area
The New York Bight Closure Area is closed to all surfclam or ocean quahog harvesting; and is located at 40°25'04" N. lat., 73°42'38" W. long., with a radius of 6 nm in every direction from that point, extending further northwestward, westward, and southwestward between a line from a point on the arc at 40°31'00" N. lat., 73°43'38" W. long., directly northward toward Atlantic Beach Light in New York to the limit of the state territorial waters of New York; and a line from the point on the arc at 40°19'48" N. lat., 73°45'42" W. long., to a point at the limit of the state territorial waters of New Jersey at 40°14'00" N. lat., 73°55'42" W. See chart for a more detailed description of the location.
Georges Bank Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) Closure Area
The Georges Bank PSP contaminated area, is closed to all bivalve molluscan shellfish fishing (including surfclams and ocean quahogs), and is located east of 69° W. longitude, and south of 42°20' N. latitude, extending to the boundary of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Reopened Portion of the Georges Bank PSP Closure Area
A portion of the Georges Bank Closed Area is reopened for Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog harvesting, provided specified PSP testing requirements are other regulations are followed (see below).
|Reopened Portion of the GB PSP Closure Area|
|Point||N. Latitude||W. Longitude|
In addition to the requirements of the traditional Atlantic surfclam/ocean quahog fishery, to fish in the reopened area (above), a vessel must also do all of the following:
- Obtain a letter of authorization (LOA) from the NOAA Fisheries. The LOA must be carried onboard for all trips into the area. The LOA application will be sent out annually in your permit renewal package or it can be obtained by calling the Permits Office at (978) 282-8438;
- The vessel must adhere to the terms and conditions of the testing protocol (as adopted into the National Shellfish Sanitation Program by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference). All surfclams and ocean quahogs harvested from the area must be handled in accordance with the terms and conditions of the protocol from the first point of harvest through completion of testing and release by the State Shellfish Control Authority (SSCA);
- Submit to NOAA Fisheries a document from the SSCA detailing that the state will accept your vessel’s landings. Please note that the SSCA may also require you to develop an agreement of understanding with the state, outlining any additional requirements the state may have;
- Develop and submit to NOAA Fisheries a written onboard lot segregation plan. The SSCA in the intended state of landing and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve the proposed lot segregation plan. The plan must also be maintained onboard the vessel conducting the harvesting; and
- Prior to leaving port at the start of a fishing trip, the vessel’s owner or operator must declare the intent to fish in the area by calling the Northeast Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Team at (978) 281-9274. The vessel's owner or operator must also declare either an Atlantic surfclam or ocean quahog trip through the vessel’s VMS unit. In the future, VMS codes will be developed that are specific to the Reopened Portion of the GB Closed Area. In the meantime, vessels will have to declare their intent to fish in the area by calling the Northeast VMS Team at the start of a trip as well as declaring an Atlantic surfclam or ocean quahog trip on their VMS unit.