WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced Thursday that roughly 515 acres of Mount Hope Bay will once again be “conditionally approved” for shellfish harvesting starting on Saturday.
For decades, shellfishing had been banned from the area off Touisset Point in Warren due to poor water quality. The DEM said improvements to wastewater treatment and combined sewage overflow capture have been successful enough for the site to meet FDA safety standards.
“The trend toward better water quality in Narragansett Bay is clear,” DEM Director Terry Gray said. “The improvements propelling this progress have not come cheaply, but they’ve been worth every penny because the bay is cleaner and healthier than it’s been in generations.”
The new shellfishing area is located in the bay’s northwest corner and stretches from the mouth of the Kickemuit River to the Rhode Island-Massachusetts state line.
However, the DEM said there will still be some restrictions in place. It’s classified as a “conditional area,” meaning it will be open for shellfish harvest during dry weather, but will close for seven days if more than a half-inch of rain falls over a 24-hour period.
The DEM also announced seasonal closures due to poor water quality in the following areas:
- Bristol Harbor
- Dutch Harbor Area, Jamestown
- Fishing Cove, Wickford Harbor
- Great Salt Pond and Trims Pond, Block Island
- Potter Cove, Prudence Island
- Sakonnet Harbor, Little Compton
Right now, shellfishing season is scheduled to last until Oct. 10, but the DEM said that could change based on the weather conditions.