Shellfish Industry Profile and Economic Impact

Connecticut oysters have a reputation for quality and an outstanding safety record. Shellfishing is an important component of Connecticut’s economy and its recreation and tourism industries. DA/BA and the state shellfishing industry have consistently worked with Town recreational shellfishing programs to stock areas for harvest by the public. 
  • Connecticut shellfishing generates over $30 million in farm-gate sales annually.
  • The Connecticut shellfishing industry provides over 300 jobs statewide.
  • More than 61,000 acres of shellfish farms are now under cultivation in Connecticut’s coastal waters.
  • State managed beds total 45,265.10 acres, Town managed beds 16,156.10 acres, and Natural beds account for 17,336.50 acres.
Connecticut Industry Statistics
Licensed Shellfish Harvesters  48 
Shellfish Harvest Vessels 110 
Licensed Seed Oystermen  23 
Licensed Seed Helpers 127 
Licensed Seed Boats  53 
Licensed Wholesale Firms for Sales and Distribution  24 
 
Shellfish Grounds Revenue
  • The State Leasing Program consists of 674 franchise oyster grounds (more than 100 years old) totaling 22,411.97 acres and generating annual revenue of $88,767.68.
  • 315 Shellfish leases totaling 25,816.67 acres generating $657,695.39 in annual revenue.
Historic and Current Oyster and Hard Clam Market Harvest Data
Production statistics are based on harvest reports from CT shellfish producers.

 Year Hard Clam $ Hard Clam (Bags/Bushels) Oyster $  Oyster (Bags/Bushels) 
1990 $3,545,616.00 146,250 $22,648,802.00 380,000
1991 $3,827,000.00 154,026 $26,718,000.00 540,390
1992 $4,402,000.00 146,733 $45,000,000.00 893,964
1993 $6,309,400.00 157,735 $42,052,920.00 700,882
1994 $7,549,960.00 192,891 $35,254,916.00 705,542
1995 $1,306,425.00 52,257 $41,353,180.00 751,876
1996 $1,310,575.00 52,423 $28,919,495.00 525,809
1997* $8,667,648.00 240,768 $5,103,618.00 196,293
1998* $5,105,760.00 128,544 $8,978,090.00 179,562
1999 $6,500,000.00 130,000 $11,050,000.00 170,000
2000 $9,415,356.00 335,084 $4,839,468.00 81,015
2001 $9,929,575.00 281,811 $3,244,510.00 56,340
2002 No data No data No data No data
2003 $10,783,837.23 341,546 $2,294,649.00 36,781
2004** $10,690,174.90 403,698 $1,356,310.00  24,116
2005 $16,120,028.20 420,529 $953,050.00 23,041
2006 $18,194,591.06 423,950 $2,205,740.00 52,851
2007 $20,530,892.00 489,648 $5,142,099.00 132,933
2008*** $20,165,332.00 511,659 $6,380,933.00 161,305
2009*** $17,711,497.00 489,462 $6,984,640.00 187,096
2010*** $17,405,284.00 425,294 $8,010,682.00 220,100
2011 No data No data No data No data
2012 No data No data No data No data
2013 No data No data No data No data
2014 No data No data No data No data
2015 No data No data No data No data
2016 $11,408,306.00 402,457 $18,345,500.00 350,615
2017 $10,041,885.00 309,661 $15,993,119.00 307.009
2018 $9,824,635.30  323,671 $15,811,157.50  315,716
2019 $6,642,356.19  236,181 $15,899,500.05 302,848

* In 1997 and 1998, a natural disease resulted in a major die-off of oyster stocks. Visit the Shellfish Disease page for more information.

** Prior to 2004, harvest quantity was calculated in bushels. Subsequent data are calculated in bags.

*** The largest cultivated acreage producer failed to report harvest statistics from 2008 to 2010. As a result, the overall average harvest growth rate was factored into the last reported figures by the company to obtain an estimate for 2010 harvest numbers. However, no growth was factored for 2008 harvest numbers.