RI Shellfish Management Plan

The URI Coastal Resources Center and RI Sea Grant, in collaboration with multiple partners, facilitated the creation of the Rhode Island Shellfish Management Plan (SMP) for the state. This document provides comprehensive policy guidance regarding management and protection measures for shellfish, such as quahogs and oysters, located in state marine waters. The effort involved multiple state agencies, including the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council, which manages aquaculture leasing, and the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM), which manages shellfish in state waters. It also engaged stakeholders in identifying policies and practices to restore shellfish resources and enhance the economic vitality of the shellfishing industry. Begun in January 2013, project leaders worked with the wild harvest, aquaculture, and restoration communities to define priority areas and begin tackling some of these issues and a final draft was presented in November 2014.

RI Shellfish Management Plan-Making the Magic-Lessons Learned Videos

0_SMPMagic_Intro_thumbnailMaking the Magic-Lessons Learned from the Rhode Island Shellfish Management Plan (SMP): How do you create a comprehensive plan for state shellfish resources that is not only effective and efficient but reflects the needs of government, industry and community groups? Find out through this film series.

The SMP is the state’s first comprehensive plan for the management, protection and enhancement of shellfish resources; since plan adoption in 2014, more than 70 percent of SMP recommendations have been, or are being, implemented.


RI Shellfish Management Plan Volume I & II

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RI Shellfish Management Plan Volume I (2014)

RI Shellfish Management Plan Volume II Appendices (2014)

RI Shellfish Management Plan Video

This video features members of the industry, regulators, and other stakeholders talking about the RI Shellfish Management Plan, and the importance of shellfish economically and culturally to Rhode Island and its residents. Produced by Shedlight Productions and the Coastal Institute at URI, in partnership with URI Coastal Resources Center and the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program.


Rhode Island’s Shellfish Heritage: An Ecological History

Written by Sarah Schumann



Grew out of the 2014 R.I. Shellfish Management Plan, which was the first such plan created for the state under the auspices of the R.I. Department of Environmental Management and the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council. This book delves into the history of Rhode Island’s iconic oysters, quahogs, and all the well-known and lesser-known species in between. It offers the perspectives of those who catch, grow, and sell shellfish, as well as of those who produce wampum, sculpture, and books with shellfish — particularly quahogs — as their medium or inspiration.

Read on-line.

Learn how to get your free copy (shipping charges apply).




Project Documents

The Rhode Island Shellfish Management Plan: A Year of Progress, Partnership, and Public Planning
This progress report highlighs the successes of the SMP, including  increased funding for shellfish research, improved coordination between state agencies, and greater understanding between wild harvest and aquaculture shellfishermen.

Memorandum of Agreement Between RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and RI Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC)
This Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) recognizes the need for an understanding between DEM and CRMC concerning aquaculture activities. While CRMC generally conducts and oversees inspection of aquaculture operations in the state, the formal authority has been with DEM. Both agencies and industry acknowledge that CRMC is the recognized, capable, and practicing inspection authority and with urgings and support from DEM Division of Agriculture, the MOA was signed in October 2014, giving CRMC designated status on behalf of DEM to perform lease inspections in Rhode Island. This MOA signifies a willingness and ability to achieve cross-agency collaboration, agency responsiveness to the needs of the industry, and overall an improved and more efficient way of doing business.

RI Shellfish Research Updates
This document contains updates from Rhode Island Sea Grant 2014-2016 research efforts in the areas of shellfish biology and the ecology of the resources that support shellfish and shellfish management. Researchers have recently finished their first field season collecting data and will be processing this information over the winter months.

Shellfish Management Plan Fact-sheet
This document discusses the Shellfish Management Plan, its areas of focus, and the Plan’s projected timeline.

RI Shellfish Management Plan Scopes of Work

Draft Economic Scope of Work
This document describes a market analysis study of the shellfish industry to be completed by the University of Rhode Island Resource Economics Department. The study will examine trends in supply and demand, and will consider factors such as seasonal and annual fluctuations, varying prices paid to fishermen and by consumers, and the role of locally harvested product versus farmed or imported products. The study will focus on quahogs and oysters initially, but may be expanded to include other species in the future. This document was reviewed via a public comment process which ended March 8th, 2013. The SMP Economic Scope of Work (ESOW) Public Comments and SMP Team Responses can be viewed here.

Draft Legal Scope of Work
This document describes work to be completed by Marine Affairs Institute at Roger Williams University School of Law for the Shellfish Management Plan. It focuses on legal and policy research, including compiling and summarizing existing legal information governing shellfisheries, summarizing the history of shellfisheries management, and addressing legal questions that arise throughout the process and was reviewed via a public comment process which ended January 31, 2013.

RI Shellfish Management Plan Goals & Objectives

Draft SMP Goals and Objectives
Released in March, 2013, the draft document for the SMP Goals and Objectives was made available to the public during an open comment period. Following this review period, the goals were adjusted in response to comments received (see below).

Goals and Objectives Comments and Response Matrix
Each of the comments received during the public comment period were assessed and responded to by the SMP Team, and can be viewed in this document.

Final SMP Goals and Objectives (May, 2013)
This document includes the SMP Vision statement, as well as the final SMP Goals and Objectives.

RI Shellfish Management Plan Use Maps

RI Shellfish Management Plan Use Maps
At the request of stakeholders, we developed a set of current “use maps” for the Bay and ponds that includes aquaculture lease locations, commercial and recreational fishing areas, and restoration sites, to help minimize use conflicts. These maps were created via a series of Input Sessions. To learn more about the process used to create the maps, click here.

Click here to view past meeting presentations and materials.


RI SMP Project Partners:

RI Department of Environmental Management.
RI Coastal Resources Management Council
Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program
Roger Williams University
URI Coastal Resources Center
URI Coastal Institute

RI SMP Project Funders

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Rhode Island Foundation,
Prospect Hill Foundation,
Sharpe Family Foundation/Henry and Peggy Sharpe,
van Beuren Charitable Foundation.

RI SMP Coordinating Team

Jennifer McCann, Director of U.S. Coastal Programs, URI Coastal Resources Center
Azure Cygler, Fisheries & Aquaculture Extension, URI Coastal Resources Center / Rhode Island Sea Grant
Dale Leavitt, Associate Professor, Roger Williams University
Ken Ayars, Chief, Division of Agriculture, RI Department of Environmental Management
Cathy White, Department of Health
Bryan DeAngelis, The Nature Conservancy
Mike McGiveney, President, Rhode Island Shellfishermen’s Association
Lou Fratterelli, Shellfisherman, East Bay
Robert Rheault, President, East Coast Shellfish Grower’s Association
Dave Beutel, Aquaculture Coordinator, RI Coastal Resources Management Council
Jason McNamee, Deputy Chief, Fish & Wildlife, RI Department of Environmental Management
Roger Tellier, Rhode Island Salt Water Angler’s Association

Primary Contacts

Jennifer McCann
Director of U.S. Coastal Programs, URI Coastal Resources Center
Director of Extension Programs, Rhode Island Sea Grant
Tel: (401) 874-6127
Fax: (401) 874-6920
E-mail: mccann@crc.uri.edu

Azure Cygler
Fisheries Extension Specialist, URI Coastal Resources Center/Rhode Island Sea Grant
Tel: (401) 874-6197
Fax: (401) 874-6920
E-mail: azure@crc.uri.edu