A Department issued Shellfish Aquaculture lease in the Chesapeake Bay is valid for a term of twenty years. The exceptions are Tidal Wetland Leases (TWLs) which are issued for ten years. However, upon renewal, the TWL will be converted to a Shellfish Aquaculture lease with a term of twenty years.
After your Shellfish Aquaculture lease has been active for a term of 20 years and you would like to continue harvesting on your lease, you are required to apply for a renewal. Once your renewal application has been approved, you may continue harvesting on your lease for another 20 year term. After the lease has been in existence for a total of 40 years, you must submit a brand new application for your lease area. This is due to the fact that laws, regulations, and overall make up of the Bay can change drastically over a 40 year period.
It is important to note if no co-lessee is named, the lease will automatically revert back to the State upon a leaseholder's death. The lease is not inheritable and will not be passed down to next of kin.
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