The Impact of Shellfish0101

From quahogs, steamers, and scallops to oysters, mussels, and razor clams it’s no understatement that Cape Cod loves it’s shellfish. But even before they become delicious morsels, these beloved bi-valves play a crucial role in ensuring the our way of life here on the Cape.

Bi-valves like oysters, quahogs and other shellfish here on the Cape are filter-feeders meaning they eat by siphoning the surrounding water for nutrients. On average a single shellfish can filter 15-55 liters of seawater per day. Far from being simply a fun fact, however, this filtration role is a big part of why having a healthy shellfish population here on Cape Cod is crucial. The shellfish filtration helps to keep populations of phytoplankton under control and regulate levels of nitrogen and phosphorous which in turn helps to ensure the quality of our coastal waters and also the survival of the fish species that live there. It should come as no surprise to us as members of a coastal world therefore that the supporting of a flourishing shellfish population is one of the FLATS highest priorities.

For a more in-depth breakdown of the environmental effects and roles of bi-valves click here.

Brewster Shellfishing Regulations

Brewster shellfish regulations are available online (PDF) here or at the Brewster Town Hall. Shellfishing permits are sold at the Brewster Town Hall.

  • Resident over 70 years of age (lifetime License) $5.00
  • Resident Annual Shellfish Permit $25.00
  • Non-Resident Annual Permit $125.00
  • Non-Resident (one week) $20.00

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Annual Shellfishing Events

In addition to the schedule published in the Town of Brewster Shellfish regulations, please note the following special events that take place every year in Brewster.


The rock bed at Ellis Landing is open for one week in the Spring. This has become a very popular event for people who enjoy clams casino or littlenecks on the half shell. For beginners or seasoned veterans, this area provides a safe, family friendly place to dig for shellfish.  The Spring 2014 schedule will be from April 20th through April 27th.

Click here for more details

or contact the Shellfish Dept. at 508-896-4546.


By far our most popular event, Saint’s Landing provides an opportunity to dig for quahogs and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of summer time on Cape Cod. We begin stocking this area the 3rd week in June and continue until Labor Day weekend.

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Open daily in June with a 10 qt. limit and then changing to THURSDAYS and SUNDAYS for July and August. This has become a very popular family event for people of all ages to experience digging for clams in Cape Cod Bay. Although we can not guarantee a full catch, most people do come back with a smile!

Fall OystersDo you like Oysters? 

Come join us for OYSTER SUNDAYS in the Fall and gather Brewster’s Gems! We open an area off Ellis Landing starting in October and ending the last Sunday before Thanksgiving!

Only two days left: November 16th and November 23rd, 2014!

Second Chance for Littlenecks!

Littleneck Week The rock bed at Ellis Landing will be open for one week during the Fall, just in case you missed out in the Spring. 5 qt. limit per family.

Friends of Lands, Aquatics, Trails, and Shellfish