The Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring classifies shellfish growing waters and determines whether and how the harvest of shellfish from those waters must be restricted in order to protect the public from health risks associated with the consumption of shellfish. The Bureau has the authority to impose immediate shellfish harvest suspensions and restrictions to protect public health. In addition, the Bureau issues permits for shellfish harvesting; develops control plans; and sets requirements for shellfish license holders for the harvest, handling, and transport of shellfish. This ensures New Jersey harvested shellfish are safe for human consumption.
New Jersey participates in the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP), which is recognized by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC; New Jersey is a member of the conference) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The NSSP, among other things, develops and updates regulatory guidelines for the sanitary control of shellfish produced and sold for human consumption. The regulatory guidelines are published by the FDA as the NSSP Guide for the Control of Molluscan Shellfish (NSSP Guide). The Department makes the applicable standards of the NSSP Guide part of the Shellfish Growing Water Classification rules through regulations (N.J.A.C. 7:12).
The Bureau generates data and reports as a result of monitoring efforts. This and other information can be found below:
Click on a chart from the side bar or a coastal portion of the adjacent map to see current classifications. SHELLFISH GROWING WATER CLASSIFICATION CHARTS ARE A GRAPHIC REPRESENTATION OF THE CLASSIFICATION REGULATIONS AND ARE PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY. See N.J.A.C. 7:12 for the full legal descriptions; or the NJDEP Rules and Regulations website. The 'Cover Pages' explain the most recent changes in classification.
Click on each map area or on the chart labels to view charts.
The printed booklet of the shellfish classification charts is now available at our office and various locations throughout New Jersey. Please be advised that due to severe storms, short term pollution events, or until classification changes can be adopted through rulemaking; temporary closures of shellfish waters are sometimes made. If you are not certain about conditions in waters where you will be harvesting, please contact the Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring at (609) 748-2000.
Each year, the Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring (BMWM) collects approximately 12,000 water samples. Each sample site is visited approximately 5 – 10 times per year. These samples are analyzed for Fecal Coliform at the Bureau's laboratory facilities located in Leeds Point, NJ. In addition to laboratory sample analysis, BMWM staff regularly perform field surveys of NJ's shoreline to monitor for potential pollution sources. This information is reviewed each year to update the classification status of NJ's coastal waters for shellfish harvest. These classifications are applied to maintain New Jersey's compliance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program and to maintain the state's excellent record of safe shellfish harvest. This information is organized and published in reports which can be downloaded from the below links.
The Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring (BMWM) issues permits for shellfish harvesting in NJ waters, this includes permits for shellfish research, for shellfish restoration and enhancement, for toxins monitoring in shellfish, and for shellfish aquaculture. Apart from shellfish aquaculture, harvesting in Approved waters does not require a permit (although a license may still be required, see Division of Fish and Wildlife's Bureau of Shellfisheries for more information on shellfish licenses in NJ). Below are the 11 permits available through BMWM, including a brief description, if a shellfish license is required, and if the shellfish are intended for human consumption. According to BMWM, shellfish means any species of oysters, clams, mussels, or scallops live in the shell. If you are interested in obtaining a permit, please fill out the consolidated application form available below or contact us.
Commercial Shellfish Permits
Click on each permit below for more information.
Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture Permit authorizes the growing of shellfish in waters classified as Approved or Conditionally Approved and harvest for direct marketing. For further information, please see N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.15.
Permit for a Hatchery to Produce and Grow Seed or for a Nursery to Grow Seed authorizes a hatchery or nursery to produce and/or grow seed at a single site in or using waters classified as other than Approved for sale or for relocation to Approved or Conditionally Approved waters. For further information, please see N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.14.
Soft clam and/or hard clam depuration harvester permit authorizes soft and/or hard clams to be harvested from Restricted waters and ultimately marketed after processing through a depuration plant operating pursuant to a certification issued by the Department of Health under N.J.A.C. 8:13-2 and a Soft and/or Hard Clam Depuration Plant Permit issued under N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.5. For further information, please see N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.6.
Soft clam and/or hard clam depuration plant permit authorizes a depuration plant to possess soft and/or hard clams harvested from Restricted waters for further processing. This permit completes the control link between the harvest of soft and/or hard clams regulated under the Soft Clam and/or Hard Clam Depuration Harvester Permit at N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.6 and the processing of the harvested clams, which is regulated by the Department of Health and requires that the depuration plant obtain a certificate to operate from the Department of Health under that department’s rules at N.J.A.C. 8:13-2. For further information, please see N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.5.
Permit for the Harvest of Seed Oysters and/or Seed Clams from Restricted Waters and Transplant to Approved Waters authorizes the harvest of seed oysters and/or seed clams from waters classified as Restricted for transplant to a lease(s) in waters classified as Approved for grow-out and reduction of pathogens prior to direct marketing. For further information, please see N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.9.
Permit for the Harvest of Surf Clams from Prohibited Waters for Bait authorizes the harvest of surf clams from waters in the Atlantic Ocean classified as Prohibited for bait and not for human consumption. For further information, please see N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.7.
Permit for the Harvest of Hard Clams or Oysters from Restricted Waters and Relay to Approved Waters authorizes the harvest of hard clams or oysters from waters classified as Restricted for relay to a relay lease(s) in waters classified as Approved for purposes of reduction of pathogens prior to direct marketing. For further information, please see N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.8.
Non-commercial Shellfish Permits
Click on each permit below for more information.
Permit for Shellfish Research in Waters Other Than Approved authorizes the collection of shellfish from waters classified as other than Approved for the purpose of scientific research. For further information, please see N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.10.
Permit for Shellfish Restoration and/or Enhancement in Waters Other Than Approved authorizes the gardening of shellfish at a single site in waters other than Approved by a non-profit organization or government agency for purposes of restoring or enhancing the shellfish resource or enhancing water quality, and not for human consumption. For further information, please see N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.11.
Permit for Growing Seed in Waters Other Than Approved by a Non-profit Organization or Government Agency authorizes a Non-profit Organization or Government Agency to conduct a project involving the distribution of seed to participants who will grow the seed at various locations in waters other than Approved for relocation by the permittee to Approved or Conditionally Approved waters; a project authorized under a Permit for Shellfish Restoration and/or Enhancement in Waters Other Than Approved (N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.11); or waters outside the boundaries of the State of New Jersey, subject to any required approval from the receiving state. For further information, please see N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.12.
Permit for Short-term Use of Shellfish for Toxins Monitoring in Waters Other Than Approved authorizes the placement of shellfish into waters other than Approved for purposes of a Remedial Investigation pursuant to the Department’s Technical Requirements for Site Remediation, N.J.A.C. 7:26E, or for purposes of a study approved by the Department’s Site Remediation Program where the applicant can demonstrate a specific need to study bioaccumulation of toxins in shellfish from known contaminated sites located in or impacting waters other than Approved. For further information, please see N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.13.
Return the signed application form to the following address:
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring
929 Stoney Hill Road
PO Box 405
Leeds Point, NJ 08220
Any necessary submittal requirements can be sent to the address above or email@example.com (please indicate the name of applicant and the name of the permit when emailing submittal requirements).
Each application for a permit, other than for the Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture Permit pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.15, shall be accompanied by a $25.00 application fee in the form of check or money order made payable to Treasurer, State of New Jersey. There is no fee for the Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture Permit at N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.15 because the activities are conducted in Approved waters and thus are not governed by N.J.S.A. 58:24-3.
For more information on shellfish permits please click the Permit Information panel below and see N.J.A.C. 7:12-9 (available at the Department's Rules and Regulations website).
Any person whose permit application is denied may request an adjudicatory hearing in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.4.
An issued permit shall be valid for the period specified in the permit document issued to the permittee, unless revoked or suspended for cause. The period of validity shall not extend beyond December 31 of the calendar year of issuance.
An issued permit is non-transferable.
In addition to the requirements at N.J.A.C. 7:12-9 (Shellfish Permits for Harvest from waters other than Approved,; Research; Restoration and Enhancement; Toxins Monitoring; and Aquaculture), permittees are subject to the applicable requirements of N.J.A.C. 7:12-8 (Shellfish Harvest, Handling, and Transport Requirements for Shellfish License Holders).
A permit under N.J.A.C. 7:12-9 does not exempt a permittee from compliance with all other applicable State laws and rules.
It is the responsibility of the permittee to provide the Bureau with the permittee’s most current address. If the permittee’s address changes from that provided to the Bureau on the application for a permit or otherwise, the permittee shall notify the Bureau of the new address within one week of the change.
An issued permit may contain special conditions relating to purpose, duration, area limitations, time limitations, methods of handling, identification and disposition of the shellfish, limitation on species and/or size of shellfish, and/or any other conditions deemed necessary by the Department to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
Conviction of a shellfish violation as provided in N.J.S.A. 58:24-1 et seq., 24:2-1 et seq., and 50:2-1 et seq. shall be adequate cause for the suspension, revocation, and/or denial of any permit issued N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.
Any person who violates N.J.A.C. 7:12-9 and/or the terms of a permit issued under N.J.A.C. 7:12-9 may be subject to prosecution and/or penalties pursuant to N.J.S.A. 23:2B-14, 50:1-5 et seq., 58:24-9, 58:24-10,58:24-10.1, and 2C:64-1 et seq., including the forfeiture of shellfish, which may be seized and returned to the water or destroyed.
Any person who takes shellfish from waters classified as other than Approved without a permit issued under N.J.A.C. 7:12-9 authorizing such activity may be subject to prosecution and/or penalties pursuant to N.J.S.A. 23:2B-14, 50:1-5 et seq., 58:24-9, 58:24-10,58:24-10.1, and 2C:64-1 et seq., including the forfeiture of shellfish, which may be seized and returned to the water or destroyed.
Any person who conducts aquaculture activities without a permit issued under N.J.A.C. 7:12-9 authorizing such activity may be subject to prosecution and/or penalties pursuant to N.J.S.A. 23:2B-14, 50:1-5 et seq., 58:24-9, 58:24-10,58:24-10.1, and 2C:64-1 et seq., including the forfeiture of shellfish, which may be seized and returned to the water or destroyed.
The Department shall immediately suspend the permit of any person who violates any condition of the permit or any provision of N.J.A.C. 7:12 and thereby creates a threat to public health by compromising the purity of shellfish as a food product. The Department may suspend the permit of any person who violates any condition of the permit or any other provision of N.J.A.C. 7:12. Any person whose permit is suspended may request an adjudicatory hearing in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:12-9.4.
For purposes of N.J.A.C. 7:12-9, sunrise and sunset shall mean the times of sunrise and sunset in Trenton, New Jersey. These sunrise and sunset times shall apply regardless of where a harvester intends to harvest or is harvesting shellfish. The Trenton sunrise and sunset timetable is included in the NJ Hunting and Trapping Digest available from the Department’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and on-line at https://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/.
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Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:12, as part of any application for a commercial shellfish license issued by the Department’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, the applicant shall certify that he or she has completed the shellfish harvesters training within the past two years.
You must have a valid email address to get credit for this training.
The harvester training is approximately 15 minutes long.
At the end of the training you will receive an email certifying the completion, this email will serve as confirmation when purchasing a Commercial Shellfish License. Information on Commercial Shellfish Licenses can be found here.
If you are having problems viewing the training, please make sure your browser is up-to-date. If you continue to have problems viewing the training please contact the Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring at 609-748-2000.