Shellfish Harvesters and Dealers

The licensing and inspection requirements for commercial processing of shellfish within New Hampshire is provided along with licensing applications and resources for the regulated industry.

All commercial shellfish dealers must receive certification through the Department of Health and Health Services Shellfish Sanitation Program and be included on the Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List that is maintained  by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).   The Shellfish Sanitation Program regulates shellfish, which means all fresh or frozen edible species of oysters, clams, or mussels, either shucked or in the shell, or scallops in any form, except when the final product form is the adductor muscle only.

The program is also responsible for certification and inspection of all Aquaculturists and their vessels who harvest live shellfish from New Hampshire waters for commercial sale. In New Hampshire, the shellfish harvesting program is overseen by three cooperating state agencies: the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Department of Environmental Services (DES), and the Fish and Game Department (F&G).

Anyone who owns or operates a shellfish processing plant or vehicle for transporting shellfish in New Hampshire must obtain a shellfish certificate from Food Protection prior to operation. In order to be eligible to obtain a shellfish certificate, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Ensure the shellfish processing plant or vehicle owned or operated meets the requirements of New Hampshire Shellfish Sanitation Rules, He-P2150;
  • Complete and submit an application to Food Protection for a shellfish certificate with appropriate fees;
  • Develop, maintain and submit a completed Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Plan for each type of shellfish that will be sold by the dealer; and,
  • Provide a water test result within the last 6 months, if the shellfish processing plant or vehicle utilizes a private water system.

Compliance Inspections

The Shellfish Sanitation Program will conduct an on-site inspection of the plant or vehicle, and required paperwork, as well as the HACCP plan. If satisfied that the information regarding the applicant, the HACCP plan and the applicant's operation and facilities are in compliance with the New Hampshire Shellfish Sanitation Rules He-P2150; a shellfish certificate will be issued, which will expire on March 31st annually. Routine inspections will be conducted by the Shellfish Sanitation Program based on the type of certificate issued to the applicant, during which time the records of all shellfish sanitation, temperature, and transaction records will be reviewed.

Types of Permits

  • SP: Shucker-Packer: means a person who shucks and packs shellfish. A shucker-packer may act as a shellstock shipper or reshipper or may repack shellfish originating from other certified dealers.
  • SS: Shellstock Shipper: means a dealer who grows, harvests, buys, or repacks and sells shellstock. They are not authorized to shuck shellfish nor to repack shucked shellfish. A shellstock shipper may also buy, repack, and sell in-shell product as well as ship shucked shellfish.
  • RS: Reshipper:  means a person who purchases shellfish from dealers and sells the product without repacking or relabeling to other dealers, wholesalers, or retailers.
  • SS, AQ: Shellstock Shipper (same as above) & Aquaculture:  means a person cultivating shellfish in controlled conditions for human consumption. Cultivation includes propagation and growing of shellfish. These activities may occur in natural or man-made water bodies. These activities include seed collection, production, and cultivation in natural water bodies when shellfish are held off the bottom such as the use of racks, bags, or cages, and when shellfish are held in man-made water bodies such as the use of tanks, ponds, or raceways. These activities do not include depuration or wet storage.