The Department has submitted an application for a water column lease through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Maryland Department of the Environment for the total area of two Aquaculture Enterprise Zones (AEZ) on the Patuxent River. This permit will streamline the process for an individual to obtain a water column lease to carry out shellfish aquaculture. The Department will not be accepting applications for leasing in the AEZ until the required state and federal permits are secured.
Anyone can apply to use an AEZ, but 25% of each AEZ' is reserved on a first-come, first served basis for licensed watermen.
Upon DNR obtaining proper permitting, prospective individuals can submit an application to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to obtain a lease to culture shellfish over a specified portion of the total AEZ permitted area. As part of the application, prospective lease applicants will be required to submit an individual plan detailing how they will utilize a lease to grow shellfish as well as images or sketches of the structures to be used, dimensions and a detailed description of the makeup of the physical structures to be used, description of marking methods that will be utilized to ensure that all equipment, gear, or manmade material placed on the lease shall be permanently and individually marked with the lease number and name of the leaseholder.
In addition, all water column leaseholders in the AEZ will be required to carry insurance. Please review the necesary insurance requirements available with the application before applying. A lease will not be issued to you until necessary documentation of insurance is provided to the department.
All leaseholders including those in the AEZ, will be required to submit a yearly report describing the use of the lease during the previous year.
- Application Fee: A non-refundable $150 Application fee is due when the application is submitted.
- Yearly Rent:
- Off-Bottom lease in AEZ: $40 per acre per year due January 1 of each year
- On-Bottom lease in AEZ: $3.50 per acre per year due January 1 of each year
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