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Shellfish Administrative Order, Aquaculture Registration, and Harvester Training Information


November 17, 2015

The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife is informing interested parties that from 2014 through early 2015 the Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring conducted a number of outreach sessions with stakeholders, Atlantic and Delaware Bay Shellfish Councils and the NJ Aquaculture Advisory Council on proposed changes to the Shellfish Classification rules at N.J.A.C. 7:12.

The proposed changes were primarily to address the Food and Drug Administration's concerns regarding conformance with National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) Model Ordinance, specifically aquaculture permitting, harvester training, and additional harvester requirements.

The proposed rule also:

  • Updates water classifications;
  • Eliminates, consolidates, updates and creates shellfish permits for various research, restoration and commercial shellfish activities, including permits for aquaculture activities.
  • Establishes protocols for maintenance and husbandry activities and excludes those practices from the definition of "harvest".
  • Establishes time to temperature requirements for the management of Vibrio parahaemolyticus. These time to temperature requirements are the same hours to refrigeration contained in the 2015 Vibrio parahaemolyticus Management Plan (pdf, BWM site).

After nearly a year of hard work and review, the Shellfish Classification rule proposal was published in the November 16, 2015 New Jersey Register. This will mark the start of a 60 day public comment period. The New Jersey Register is available on-line at and the proposal is also posted on the DEP website at Any written comments should be submitted to the Department in accordance with the procedures outlined in the publication. Any informal questions or concerns regarding the rules may be directed to Bruce Friedman, Bureau Chief, or Tracy Fay, Rule Manager, at 609-748-2000.

On November 16, 2015 NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin also signed an Administrative Order to assist in the implementation of the proposed rules, by requiring registration of aquaculture operations, identifying seed size for hard clams and oysters, launching harvester training and requiring compliance with applicable provisions of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. The Administrative Order temporarily resolves nonconformance issues cited by the Food and Drug Administration until the Shellfish Classification rules are adopted and ensures that interstate sales of shellfish harvested from NJ are not interrupted. The Administrative Order, Aquaculture Registration form, and Harvester Training are available at

All persons and entities currently engaged in aquaculture activities shall register with the NJDEP by December 31, 2015. All persons and entities intending to engage in aquaculture activities shall register with the NJDEP 30 days prior to commencing activities.

Every holder of a commercial shellfish license issued by the NJDEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife shall complete the NJDEP's shellfish harvester training which covers sanitary shellfish harvest, handling, and transportation practices.

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: November 17, 2015