Shellfishing prohibited in northern part of harbor

Oct 31, 2022

Those seeking to harvest clams and quahogs north of Apponagansett Bay will have to wait at least a few weeks to shellfish in those waters.

Town Administrator Shaw MacInnes noted during the Select Board’s Oct. 31 meeting that five water samples from that portion of the harbor “failed to meet water quality standards for either commercial or recreational harvesting.” 

As a result, the annual re-opening of Dartmouth’s north harbor will not occur on Nov. 1.

The areas that have been open to the south of the Padanaram Bridge Causeway (Smith Neck Road, south of Bush Point, and the outer harbor) will remain open to harvesting.

According to the Harbormaster’s Office, possible sources of the substandard water quality include a late season influx of birds and waterfowl feeding upon an abundance of baitfish, as well as several recent heavy rain storms following an extremely dry summer.

Additional testing will be done with the state's Division of Marine Fisheries “as soon as possible,” MacInnes said. The town administrator added that samples are expected to come back clean.

Closure signs will be posted in the area of the northern harbor until further notice.