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DMR Home > Aquaculture > Applications and Forms > Application Process

Aquaculture Lease Application Process

The process of acquiring an aquaculture lease can be lengthy, depending on the type of lease, the organisms to be grown, and the conditions surrounding the particular site chosen. In some cases, the entire process – receipt of the application to granting of the lease – can take over a year.

The Department is committed to making the process more efficient while still improving public information about proposed leases and thoroughly reviewing and evaluating each application.

For standard leases:

  • A pre-application meeting is held with the applicant, the Department and a representative of the municipality in which the proposed lease site is located
  • An informal community meeting, or scoping session, is held by the applicant to allow interested individuals to learn about a proposed application, ask questions, provide direction to the Department’s review process, and understand the leasing process
  • The application is sumitted and the Aquaculture Administrator determines whether the application is complete
  • The riparian landowners, municipalities, and interested government agencies are notified of the complete application
  • The Aquaculture Environmental Coordinator conducts a site visit, including a SCUBA dive with an underwater video camera, and prepares a report on the proposed operation
  • The riparian landowners, municipalities, interested government agencies, other interested parties and the general public are given 30-days notice of the public hearing
  • A public hearing is held
  • Following the hearing the Aquaculture Administrator prepares a draft decision for the Commissioner
  • The Commissioner is the final decision-maker on proposed leases
  • If an application is approved, a lease is granted
  • Applicants must post a performance bond with the Department prior to receiving their lease

For experimental leases:

  • The application is submitted and the Aquaculture Administrator determines whether the application is complete
  • The riparian landowners, municipalities, interested government agencies, other interested parties and the public are notified of the complete application and are given 30 days in which to submit comments or request a public hearing
  • The Aquaculture Environmental Coordinator conducts a site visit and prepares a report on the proposed operation
  • If five or more requests for a hearing are recieved by the Department, a public hearing is held with the same notification procedures as for standard leases


Select here for a detailed document on the aquaculture leasing process