A Handy Tool For Deciding Where To Harvest Wild Clams

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Many of us have memories of heading out onto the beach with buckets and rakes in search of tasty bivalves in years gone by, but if it’s been a while you may not know where to start these days.

When it comes to deciding where and when to harvest, there’s a handy tool online to help you out. Go to the Virginia Department of Health’s Shellfish Safety page and scroll to the bottom to find a great map showing you where you’re currently allowed to go clamming, or go directly to the map here.

Shellfish Harvesting Area Map

Shellfish like clams and oysters feed by filtering gallons of water every day, and that means when there are pollutants in the water (say, from heavy rainfall), It’s best to wait a while before harvesting is resumed.

The map is constantly updated with areas in green on the map not only telling you where harvesting is allowed, but where it’s currently safe.

And you’ll be happy to know you don’t need a license to harvest clams, and can take up to one bushel per person. About 400 littleneck clams make a bushel, or about 150 cherrystone clams.

So save the link and check often, and happy clamming!

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