Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog
Category 1: Commercial Surfclam (Open Access)
For commercial harvest and sale of surfclams. Catch limit is dependent upon IFQ allocation held.
In 2017, 617 Category 1 permits were issued.
Category 6: Commercial Ocean Quahog (Open Access)
For commercial harvest and sale of quahogs. Catch limit is dependent upon IFQ allocation held.
In 2017, 614 Category 6 permits were issued.
Category 7: Commercial Maine Mahogany Quahog (Limited Access)
For commercial harvest and sale of Maine mahogany quahogs. Catch limit is 100,000 Maine bushels annually.
In 2017, 24 Category 7 permits were issued.
Number of Permits in Confirmation of Permit History: 14. A Confirmation of Permit History allows a vessel owner to retain permit eligibility in the event the vessel has been destroyed or sold, but the owner retains the permit eligibility. The permit in Confirmation of Permit History may then be placed on a vessel at a later date.
Control Date: There are no control dates for this fishery.
Other permit information: There are three categories of permits in this fishery. Two are open access permits: one for surfclam and one for ocean quahog. These two permits, although open access, are individual fishing quota (IFQ), or individual transferable quota (ITQ), permits for their respective species. To fish under these open access ITQ permits, a permit holder must have previously received an allocation of quota or must obtain allocation through a quota transfer from an ITQ holder.
The third permit category is a limited access permit, and is only for harvesting Maine mahogany quahogs north of 43°50' N. latitude. A vessel issued a limited access Maine mahogany quahog permit and fishing for or possessing ocean quahogs within the Maine mahogany quahog zone (north of 43°50' N. latitude) must land its catch in the State of Maine. Catch from vessels with IFQ permits fishing in the Maine mahogany quahog zone will be counted against their respective surfclam or ocean quahog allocation. All mahogany quahogs landed for sale in Maine by vessels issued a Maine mahogany quahog permit and not fishing for an IFQ allocation are applied against the Maine mahogany quahog quota, regardless of where the mahogany quahogs are harvested.
Commercial operator permit: Operator cards are required for any operator of a charter/party boat or a commercial vessel (including carrier and processor vessels) issued a vessel permit from the Greater Atlantic Region and fishing for or in possession of fish.
Commercial dealer/processor permit: Surfclam and ocean quahogs may only be sold to persons possessing a valid Federal surfclam and ocean quahog dealer permit.
How to obtain a federal fishing permit: Anyone with a valid vessel operator’s permit can obtain a federal surfclam or ocean quahog permit.
How to apply to shuck Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs at sea: A vessel owner may apply to shuck surfclams or ocean quahogs at sea. If approved, we will determine whether such trips will require an at-sea observer. Additionally, we will publish notification in the Federal Register to determine a conversion factor for shucked meats to accurately calculate the amount of surfclams or ocean quahogs harvested in the shell. The shuck at sea form can be obtained by calling (978) 282-8438.
How to request an ITQ allocation or cage tag transfer: An ITQ permit holder who owns an allocation may transfer part or all of his/her allocation to any qualified entity. There are two types of transfers available: 1) Permanent ITQ allocation transfers and 2) Temporary cage tag transfers. There is no limit on the number of transfers permitted per year. An application for transfer may not be made between October 15 and December 31 of each year. The cage tag transfer form can be obtained by calling (978) 282-8438.
Species Covered By This Permit
- Atlantic Surfclam
- Ocean Quahog
How to Apply
All permits are free of charge. Go to Fish Online to apply online.
For assistance or to request that an application be mailed to you, contact our Permit Office at 978-282-8438.
What Happens After You Submit
Once we receive your complete application, you will receive your permit within 30 days.