Guilford Shellfish Commission Frequently Asked Questions:

Q) What do shellfish license fees pay for?

A) Shellfish license fees pay for the ongoing operations of the GSC. These operations include but are not limited to; an extensive shellfish stocking program, which consists of stocking ready to harvest clams and oysters as well as seed clams, licenses and signs, shellfish area maintenance, part time salaries for wardens and clerical staff, and GSC boat maintenance. Shellfish licenses must be purchased each calendar year and are only valid in that calendar year.

Q) Where can I access the Recreational Shellfish Areas?

A) Not all recreational shellfish areas have public parking. The areas listed below have adequate parking. Please respect private property and do not trespass. For more information, please click here for the Connecticut Coastal Access Guide.

Shell Beach – Limited Parking is available behind the red barn on Shell Beach Rd. Please do not block any roadways.
Great Harbor – Parking is available half way down Trolley Road by the GSC open/closed sign as well as at the end of Trolley Road.
Indian Cove – Parking is available off of Mulberry Point Road across from the beach and the GSC open/closed sign.
Chaffinch Island – Parking is available within the park area.
Grass Island – There is one parking space available in front of the GSC open/closed sign at the end of Neck Road. Parking is also available at the state boat launch off of Neck Road.

All recreational areas can be accessed by boat. The Guilford Town Marina has a nice launch ramp and reasonable fees. There is also a state launch on the East River on the Madison side. Kayak/canoe access is available at these and other areas. Check out the Coastal Access Guide for more information.

Q) Why do the recreational shellfish areas close?

A) The main reason the recreational shellfish areas close is due to a rain event. Most areas will close after a 1” rainfall. Shell Beach closes after a 2” rainfall. Once an area is closed due to rainfall, samples are taken, examined by the Bureau of Aquaculture, and if acceptable, the area will usually open subject to delays in water sampling and/or examination of samples. The GSC may also close an area for other reasons such as for pollution, stocking, or maintenance of an area. It is up to the license holder to call the GSC hotline (203) 453-8088 or check the GSC open/closed website, to determine the open/closed status of an area before shellfishing. Open/Closed signs are posted at each area as well. You can be fined for shellfishing in a closed area.

Q) What are the GSC regulations?

A) Please click here for the list of all GSC regulations. The GSC takes its regulations very seriously so that all license holders are able to have an enjoyable experience shellfishing in our areas. ENCON, GSC Wardens, and GSC members are active in patrolling the areas for abuse and will exercise its authority to insure the safety and enjoyment of all license holders.