If you’re visiting Rhode Island, consider digging for your own dinner and going clamming. The best part, clamming in RI is that it is a sure fire way to feel like a local!
Contrary to popular belief, clamming in RI isn’t just for the summer. In fact, Rhode Island’s clamming season goes from September 15 to May 15.
You can go harvesting for several types of shellfish: quahog, soft-shelled clam, oyster, bay scallop, surf clam and channeled or knobbed whelks. Quahog is Rhode Island’s traditional clam.
Local residents don’t need a license to go clamming in RI, but those who live outside the state need to apply for a yearly license for $200 or a 14-day tourist license for $11.
You should go clamming in RI in shallow water just before low tide, when you can find clams just below the surface. You can use a rake to find clams in the sand, or if you don’t have a rake, you can search through the sand with your feet. This will help bring clams to the surface. You can then dig up the clams — just don’t forget a bucket or other container to keep your clams.
Rhode Island does not allow shellfish harvesting between sunset and sunrise, so be sure to go clamming in RI during the daytime.
If you think you can go clamming in RI and keep all the shellfish you can find, think again. Rhode Island has restrictions; for example, quahogs must have “hinges” larger than 1 inch wide in order for clammers to keep them.
There is also a possession limit of the number of quahogs people can harvest per day. Rhode Island residents can have 1 peck of clams per person, and non-residents can have 1/2 peck of quahogs per person. A peck is equal to two dry gallons or 8 dry quarts.
In addition, although Rhode Island has many coastlines and places that seem ideal for clamming, the state does have restrictions for clamming in certain areas. You can view an updated map on the Rhode Island Department of Energy Management’s website.
Although clamming in RI comes with many rules and regulations, it can be a worthwhile experience.
So, roll up your pants and enjoy clamming in RI. It will make for a fresh, delicious dinner.