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Jun 21, 2009 02:13 PM

Shellfishing Cape Cod?

Hoping to do some shellfishing on the Cape, but noticed that Wellfleet jacked up their non-resident permits to $75! Any other towns where I can get a reasonably priced permit and get some great clams/oysters?

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  1. Brewster used to be reasonable. I don't know the specifics.

    1. You might want to base your decision on which area has open shellfishing areas in the summer, as opposed to cost of permit. It's not unusual for entire towns to be shutdown between April and September. Sorry, but that's the price of rampant development.

      4 Replies
      1. re: CapeCodGuy

        any idea which towns are open during the summer? or is it a matter of just calling a bunch of town halls?

        1. re: RedChillie

          It's not a scheduled thing. It's dependant on the water quality at the time you're looking to dig. Yes, call ahead before you buy a permit.

          Here's a site worth checking:

        2. re: CapeCodGuy

          What do you mean by "It's not unusual for entire towns to be shutdown"? Just on the Cape?

          1. re: Scargod

            I mean that it's not unheard of for most, or all public areas in a given town, to be closed to shellfishing due to summertime water quality.

        3. You have to be kidding........$75 .00 for a seasonal permit good from June 1 through September 30 is a BARGAIN!! Oysters sell for at least $1.50 each in a restaurant....and little neck clams are 4 bucks or so a LB. One time out and fill your 10 quart bucket with oysters and you paid for the permit at least twice over!! And in Wellfleet for this time period you collect a 10 quart bucket per week. So enjoy the shellfish..............$75 bucks is a bargain!

          10 Replies
          1. re: johng58

            From what I've read, many areas have limits of around a dozen clams per person, per day. Don't know about oysters. While this would pay for itself in a week, I'm not sure it's worth it for a few days if there are these kinds of regulations. I would guess this $75 permit is per person?

            1. re: Scargod

              I have never heard of a 12 clam limit anywhere on the Cape...actually sounds comical. In Wellfleet you can collect a 10 quart bucket per week of shellfish. From experience I can tell you that a 10 quart bucket of oysters is over 100. Do the math at $1.50 restaurant prices per oyster.
              And yes, the permit fee is $75 per person for the 4 month summer period. You have to consider also that Wellfleet stocks little neck clams and quohaugs in areas open to recreational shellfishing. They purchase these clams and then dump then periodically in the recreational shellfishing areas.The permit fees help to maintain this program......same as fishing liscenses do for fishing.

              1. re: johng58

                Sorry, I was not limiting myself to The Cape. In Oregon, the limit is "first fifteen taken" (per day for clams).

            2. re: johng58

              I don't think my husband and I could down 100 oysters even though we love them. Just want to have some fun and try our hand at digging our own clams while we're on the cape. We'd only be able to use the permit one day. Maybe it'd be worth it if we can we resell the permit?

              1. re: RedChillie

                Do you already own clam rakes, muck boots, and buckets? If not, you need to factor those costs in as well. If you're only looking for the one time experience, you need to look at it more as an 'excursion' expense vs. the cost for a few dozen oysters or clams. (Assuming you know how to find them once your in an open area.)

                As far as I know, permits are non-transferable.

                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                  Capecod guy has a good point........if you are buying the permit for one day...then you may reconsider since you do need a rake, at least for clams in addition to the permit. If you want to just "try your hand" at digging clams as you say.....then just go out and do that at Indian Neck in Wellfleet its to the left of the huge jetty in the harbor. I see tourists there all the time as I am shellfishing...gathering some oysters just for fun,,then putting them back since they have no permit.
                  After your "clamming adventure"......stop at Hatches Fishmarket next to the townhall in Wellfleet and buy some clams and oysters to savor.........this way you have the best of both worlds!!

                  1. re: CapeCodGuy

                    I have my first shellfishing permit this year. Where do I buy supplies like rakes, buckets, boots? I'm in the Orleans/Eastham area--does Goose Hummock have them or any of the local marine shops? Also, do I call town hall to find out where/when to go? I'm a total novice and bought the permit on a whim so any advice would be appreciated.

                    1. re: BlueSoup

                      You need to check the regulations for the town where you own a permit, but Orleans has this site:

                      Eastham has this site:

                      It was last updated early May but there's a number you can call for current closures.

                      I would think Goose Hummock would have what you need for rakes and boots. Any bucket with a handle will suffice. Happy digging!

                      1. re: CapeCodGuy

                        Thanks! I called Goose Hummock & they were very helpful. I will be doing my inaugural dig this weekend. I hope to get enough to eat some on the halfshell, some steamers and some to make chowder with...but i make it red (i know that is a crime on cc but it is a really good recipe and i don't eat dairy) .
                        I CANNOT wait to go for oysters in the fall! Thanks again for your help.

                        1. re: BlueSoup

                          I've had a non-resident in license for Mashpee for the last 27 years. Not only can you clam in Mashpee waters, but also on the Falmouth side of Waquoit. Best of all, at no time during this period have I ever been prevented from harvesting in these waters due to red tide--which has such down shellfishing elsewhere on the Cape.