Public Participation in Aquaculture Leasing

The Maine Department of Marine Resources welcomes and encourages comment on aquaculture lease applications.


Stay Informed: Watch for notices in local newspapers, municipal offices or from riparian owners who have been notified. You can also subscribe to receive email or text notifications about pending lease proposals, including public comment periods, scoping sessions, hearings, etc. To subscribe, please look for the red envelope icon at the very bottom of this webpage. 

Understand the Process: Please see the links below for information on the standard and experimental lease application process. Notice requirements and processes vary depending upon the type of lease application. 

Attend Scoping Sessions: Standard lease applicants are required to hold an informal public meeting (called a scoping session) to present their lease proposal. These meetings are an opportunity for the public to learn about the proposed lease and ask questions of the applicant. DMR requires standard lease applicants to submit a "draft application" to the DMR prior to holding a scoping session. 

Obtain Pending Lease Applications: Lease applications that have been deemed complete are available on DMR's website. Copies of pending applications that have been deemed complete can also be obtained by contacting DMR staff. 

Submit Comments: You may submit written comments by mail, e-mail ( or fax. For experimental leases, all comments submitted before the close of the 30-day public comment period will be reviewed as part of the assessment of the lease proposal. 

Speak at a Public Hearing: Provide testimony at the public hearing or ask questions of other speakers. Anyone can attend a public hearing, but please note that pre-registration may be required to offer testimony or ask questions. Pre-registration requirements are listed in the notice of the hearing. The Department encourages the public to offer testimony at hearings. 

If you testify at a public hearing, you must be sworn in. To be effective:

  • Prepare your testimony in advance
  • Address your testimony to the statutory decision criteria (PDF file, 1 page)
  • Support your points with evidence
  • Be prepared to answer questions by DMR and the applicant about your testimony

Apply for Intervenor Status: If the proposed lease will substantially and directly affect you, you may apply for intervenor status. DMR must receive your completed application by the deadline specified in the applicable public notice. Based on your application, DMR will determine whether you meet certain criteria specified in rule and law to be granted some form of intervenor status. In general, intervenors may provide testimony and present witnesses during the public hearing. Intervenors may also be able to comment on the draft decision. However, this is not always the case. Please note:

  • You do not need to be an intervenor to provide testimony at a public hearing. 
  • DMR will decide whether or not to grant intervenor status five days before the public hearing.

If you are interested in applying for intervenor status, please email or call the Aquaculture Division for an application: