Aquaculture Lease Applications and Forms
Applications must be submitted using the forms currently hosted on this website. Please be sure your submission reflects the most current version of the respective form. Submissions that are made on discontinued forms may be returned to the applicant.
Experimental leases are small in size (up to 4 acres) and short in duration (up to 3 years). Experimental leases were created to allow for commercial and scientific research on sites before a longer or larger lease is needed. These leases are granted with fewer application requirements and do not require the same level of review as standard leases. Experimental leases cannot be renewed unless they are for scientific research. A limited-purpose lease for commercial research expires at the end of the 3-year period. The leaseholder may then apply for a standard lease.
Standard leases are bigger (up to 100 acres) and longer in duration (up to 20 years) than experimental leases. Standard leases are issued for both bottom and suspended culture and of shellfish, finfish, and/or marine algae. Standard leases can be renewed, transferred, or expanded.
The limited-purpose aquaculture (LPA) licensing program provides applicants with the opportunity to obtain a one-year license to rear specific species using particular gear types that cover no more than 400 square feet. Because the license is specific to certain gear and certain species on a very small amount of area, licenses can be approved without the extensive review that is required for either an experimental or standard lease. The intention of this program, developed at the suggestion of shellfish growers, is to streamline the permitting process so that growers can "try out" different locations prior to applying for a lease.
Additional forms relating to harvest licenses, lease and license renewals, annual reports, lease transfers, the movement or importation of marine organisms, finfish cultivation, and private aids to navigation can be found here by following the link above.
Emergency Shellfish Lease
For existing shellfish lease holders the Department has the authority to issue an emergency lease to allow shellfish stock to be moved temporarily off an existing lease when the health and safety of the shellfish are threatened. The emergency lease can only be granted for a period of six months.