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Clamming / Shellfish License
Licenses are available in the Town Clerk's office 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday or by mail with a completed Shellfish License Application. The types of licenses, their costs, and the duration of the licenses are given in the application. The town also produces a small pamphlet with harvesting information and links to important information that is available here.
The fees for licenses and the enforcement of the shellfish ordinance for the Town of Bar Harbor only apply to the taking of soft shell clams (steamers), Mya arenaria. It is unlawful to dig or take soft-shelled clams from flats located in Bar Harbor without a shellfish license issued by the town. License fees for recreational licenses are waived for Bar Harbor residents under 18 and over 65 years of age.
Other species of shellfish do not require a license for recreational harvest. However, harvest can only occur at approved locations (see below) and are generally limited to daylight hours. There are also size and volume limits for all shellfish can be found at this webpage:
Commercial shellfish harvesters must have a valid State of Maine Commercial Shellfish License to do any commercial harvesting of shellfish. In addition, commercial harvesters need a Town of Bar Harbor Commercial Shellfish License to harvest soft-shelled clams. The number of commercial licenses available is adjusted annually by the Marine Resources Committee. Licenses. Licenses are issued annually starting July 1 and are valid through June 30.
The Maine Department of Marine Resources has an online interactive map with all of the shellfish closures listed as a layer in the map. This includes both long-term closures due to pollution and the risk of pollution from land-based sources, and short-term emergency closures due to biotoxins from harmful algal blooms, and short-term bacterial spikes in abundance due to heavy rain events. It also includes conservation closures determined by local clam co-management committees. The map can be accessed here:
Although we attempt to keep all the information on the town's website up to date and as accurate as possible, there are situations where emergency closures are imposed due to Red Tide and heavy rainfall.
If you are in doubt as to the status of a particular shellfish harvesting area or cannot access the DMR online map, contact the Harbormaster at 207-288-5571, Town Clerk, or Maine DMR. The Maine Shellfish Sanitation Hotline number is 800-232-4733.
Marine Resources Committee
For more information on clamming, clam biology, clam management, and marine resources research in Bar Harbor go to the Marine Resources Committee page.