Important: Narragansett Bay Shellfish Closures— 10/7/16


Samples collected by DEM and testing conducted by HEALTH today has confirmed that a bloom of the phytoplankton Pseudo-nitzschia spp is producing toxics. The toxin produced by this phytoplankton, domoic acid, is responsible for causing amnesiac shellfish poisoning (ASP).  The symptoms of ASP can include short and long term memory loss along with other serious health effects.
RIDEM is working with HEALTH to collect shellfish for analysis to determine if the toxins are present in shellfish meats at levels of concern. Given the high phytoplankton concentrations measured at several locations throughout the Bay DEM is taking this precautionary step of closing all portions of Narragansett Bay where elevated concentrations of this phytoplankton were found.
Effective sunrise tomorrow Friday October 7, 2016 and until further notice, shellfish harvesting is prohibited in waters of Narragansett Bay, Greenwich Bay, and all tributaries to those waters north of a line from a point just north of the Pettaquamscutt (Narrow) River at Cormorant Point to Beavertail Point in Jamestown to Brenton Point in Newport and south of a line from south of a line from the Old Tower at Nayatt Point to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management range marker on a pole located on Conimicut Point.
At this time the conditional areas of Mt. Hope Bay and the Kickemuit River are scheduled to reopen at noon on Saturday October 8.
DEM maintains a 24-hour shellfishing hotline, providing updates on shellfish closure areas: 401-222-2900.


Aquaculture in the Ocean State: FREE Summer Tours


What does a working shellfish farm look like up close?

What is a ‘shellfish restoration lease’ and how does it work?

Explore the answers to these questions and more this summer on our free public tours!

Hear from experts, including the “Pond to Plate” founder and owner of Matunuck Oyster Bar, the state’s Aquaculture Coordinator, and the head of the Jamestown Aquaculture Movement. Tour a working shellfish farm to see firsthand how they grow, and learn the value of shellfish restoration to our water quality and marine critters. Join us and shellfish experts to learn and discuss all aspects of shellfish farming in the Ocean State.

For adventurers! A “Wading” Tour of Matunuck Oyster Farm

Wednesday July 13, 2016
9:00AM – 11:30AM

The tour will meet in the parking lot of East Matunuck State Beach, 950 Succotash Rd, South Kingston, RI 02881.

Join Perry Raso (Owner/Operator of Matunuck Oyster Bar, Pam Lyons_Historic Perspectives of Ninigret Pond) and Dave Beutel, Aquaculture Coordinator, RI Coastal Resources Management Council for a wading tour of Perry’s shellfish growing operation in Potter Pond. The tour will start in the morning at the parking lot of East Matunuck State Beach. Good walking/water shoes required – Involves some adventuresome bush-whacking! RSVP today, limited spots available. Perry has invited ‘wading’ tour guests back to his award-winning Matunuck Oyster Bar for chowder & stuffies after the tour. Participants will also receive a free copy of the book, Rhode Island’s Shellfish Heritage: An Ecological History. Please rsvp to SORRY, THIS TOUR IS FULL.

Shellfish Research in Jamestown

Monday August 15, 2016
10:00AM – 12:30PM

The tour will meet in the parking lot of the Melrose Avenue School, 76 Melrose Ave. Jamestown, RI 02835.

Join Phil Larson, founder of the Jamestown Aquaculture Movement, restoration experts, and Jamestown officials on a walking tour of an Oyster Research Site in Jamestown. Form a better understanding of what a research & education site does and come to know how one type of gear (floating) works for aquaculture. Sturdy shoes are required. Snacks & refreshments will be served and participants will receive a free copy of the book, Rhode Island’s Shellfish Heritage: An Ecological History. Please rsvp to

The 5 Percent Rule:
The Science, History and Public Discussion

Monday, October 24, 2016 from 4:00-6:00PM
Wednesday, November 30, 2016 from 4:00-6:00PM
Both meetings will be held at the Coastal Institute at the URI Bay Campus

Join us this fall & winter to learn from those who were involved in shaping the “5 Percent Rule” for aquaculture in Rhode Island’s coastal salt ponds. The rule states that no more than 5 percent of the salt pond area can be used for aquaculture. Learn from scientists, policy-makers, and industry as they share the current biology and social science underway in Ninigret Pond related to aquaculture, past research that informed the 5 percent rule decision, and knowledge-sharing from those who were present in the original rule-setting. Join in the discussion during two meetings – Voice your opinions and experiences with the group and share ideas for future aquaculture management.

Events are hosted by the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (URI GSO) Coastal Resources Center / Rhode Island Sea Grant, through grants from NOAA’s National Sea Grant office and the Sharpe Family Foundation/Henry and Peggy Sharpe, in collaboration with CRMC and Roger Williams University.

RI DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife announces “Come Clam with Me” Schedule!

RIDEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife has announced it’s ‘Come Clam with Me’ schedule! The dates are as follows:

June 6, 1pm-4pm in North Kingstown
June 21, 1pm-4pm in Bristol
July 19, 12:30pm-3:30pm in Bristol
August 4, 2pm-5pm in North Kingstown
August 19, 1:30pm-4:30pm in North Kingstown
September 17, 1pm-4pm in Warwick

Attached is the flyer and registration form which can be filled out on-line or printed and mailed. CCWM 2016 Registration Form. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED and we ask that you only register for one date (first, second and third choices available). Please include all participants attending. Families with children 8 and older are welcome. An email confirmation with detailed directions will be sent to you once you are officially registered.

If you need further information, please contact Kimberly Sullivan or Jessica Pena at 401-539-0019.

The Aquatic Resource Education program cannot wait for the clamming season to begin!

Thank you,
Kimberly Sullivan
Principal Biologist – Freshwater Fisheries
Aquatic Resource Education Coordinator

South County Oyster Festival


The South County Oyster Festival will take place on May 1st at the Towers in Narragansett.  The festival is sponsored by the Matunuck Oyster Bar to benefit Dylan Murano and Childhood Apaxia.

“The Oyster Festival will have a rock climbing wall from Rock Spot Climbing sponsored by BankRI.  There will also be a silent auction with many great items including a complete wedding package, signed Patriots items, and much more. To visit the GoFundMe page for Dylan Murano click here.

For tickets and more information click here.

Shellfish Harvester Training


Starting in 2016, CRMC will be requiring all shellfish farming business owners to attend a harvester training class to meet new federal regulations.

The FDA and the interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference have recently mandated that states carry out periodic harvester training to ensure that all harvesters are fully aware of the regulations required to ensure that our shellfish are wholesome and safe.

The CRMC will be offering three sessions in 2016 and anyone holding an aquaculture lease or intending to apply for a lease should sign up to attend one of these sessions.  The sessions will address the specific requirements of aquaculture lease holders. The harvest of shellfish during the warm-weather months requires special attention due to the potential for food-born illness related to Vibrio bacteria.

Sessions will cover all of the federal and state shellfish harvesting regulations including tagging requirements, harvest area specifications, vessel design and maintenance regulations, and more.  Much of the course will focus on explaining the new state Vibrio Management Plan and the new harvest controls implemented in 2015. These restrictions are designed to protect shellfish from thermal abuse during summer months to prevent the post-harvest growth of Vibrio bacteria and ensure wholesome shellfish.

The courses are part of a collaborative effort between the Coastal Resources Center/Rhode Island Sea Grant at URI, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, and Roger Williams University. The lead instructor will be Dr. Robert Rheault, an aquaculture industry expert. Work is funded by NOAA’s National Sea Grant program.

Vibrios are naturally-occurring bacteria that are common in warm sea water and can cause food-born illness in shellfish consumers. Shellfish harvesters and farmers need to understand the importance of keeping shellfish cool to prevent the proliferation of Vibrios to ensure that shellfish are safe.  This is particularly true for shellfish that are destined for raw consumption.  While it is also important for shellfish dealers, restaurants and consumers to keep shellfish cold, harvesters have a critical role in ensuring that Vibrios are controlled at the source.  It is important that harvesters and farmers understand the new Vibrio control regulations so we can protect public health and maintain the outstanding reputation of Rhode Island shellfish in the marketplace.

Courses are free and open to the public however space is limited so registration is encouraged. Drop-ins permitted as space allows. The course will be offered on three separate days; participants are only required to attend one of the days.

January, 28th, 2016, 6:00-8:00pm, URI/GSO Narragansett Bay Campus, Hazards Room, Coastal Institute building.  Click here to register for 1/28 class.

February 17th, 2016, 6:00-8:00pm, URI/GSO Narragansett bay Campus, Large Conference Room, Coastal Institute building.  Click here to register for 2/17 class.

March 14th, 2016, 6:00-8:00pm, Roger Williams University, Room 200 in the Marine and Natural Science Building.  Click here to register for 3/14 class.

For more information, please contact Dr. Rheault ( or Azure Cygler (

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