Shellfish Area Classifications & Maps
All shellfish growing areas are classified in accordance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Model Ordinance (NSSP-MO). These classifications, established to minimize health risks, may restrict the taking and use of shellfish from some areas. No freshwater areas are classified for the harvesting of shellfish.
Any shellfish area, regardless of classification, may be temporarily closed to all activities when a potential public health emergency exists as a result of a storm event, flooding, sewage, chemical, or petroleum discharges, or a harmful algal bloom.
Is a classification used to identify a growing area that is safe for the direct marketing or consumption of shellfish. An area may be classified as Approved when a sanitary survey finds that there is no contamination from pathogenic organisms, poisonous or deleterious substances, marine biotoxins, or bacteria concentrations exceeding the bacteriological standards for a growing area in this classification as set forth in the NSSP-MO. The water quality in the growing area shall also meet the bacteriological standards for an Approved classification.
CONDITIONALLY APPROVED AREA:
Is a classification used to identify a growing area that is safe for the direct, marketing or consumption of shellfish when the area is in the open status. The area must meet the criteria for Approved classification when the area is in the open status, and the criteria for the restricted classification in the closed status. An area may be classified as Conditionally Approved when a sanitary survey finds that the area can remain in the open status for a reasonable period of time, the factors impacting the area are known and predictable and do not preclude a reasonable management approach, and the water quality correlates with the environmental conditions or other factors affecting the distribution of pollutants into the growing area. Each Conditionally Approved growing area must have a written management plan that is adhered to by all responsible parties.
Is a classification used to identify a growing area where harvested shellstock is relayed to Approved or Conditionally Approved waters for natural cleansing or depuration*. An area may be classified as Restricted Relay when a sanitary survey finds a limited degree of pollution and levels of fecal pollution, human pathogens, or poisonous or deleterious substances so that shellstock can be made safe for human consumption by either relaying, depuration or low acid-canned food processing. Shellfish may only be harvested from Restricted areas by special license, and may not be directly harvested for market or consumption.
*Depuration means the process of reducing the pathogenic organisms that may be present in shellstock by using a controlled aquatic environment as the treatment process.
Is a classification used to identify a growing area where a sanitary survey has found that the area meets the criteria for Restricted classification when the area is in the open status and meets the criteria for Prohibited classification when the area is in the closed status. Each Conditionally Restricted growing area must have a written management plan that designates whether harvested shellfish are relayed or depurated. Shellfish may only be harvested from Conditionally Restricted areas by special license, and may not be directly harvested for market or consumption.
Is a classification used to identify a growing area where there has been no current sanitary survey or where a sanitary survey has found that the area is adjacent to a sewage treatment plant or other point source outfall with public health significance; pollution sources may unpredictably contaminate the growing area; the growing area is contaminated with fecal waste so that the shellfish may be vectors for disease microorganisms; and/or that the concentration of biotoxin is sufficient to cause a public health risk. Shellfish may not be harvested from Prohibited areas except for seed oystering or depletion of the areas.
The Aquaculture Mapping Atlas has the updated classifications for all Connecticut shellfish growing areas.