Aquaculture and Industry Enhancement Division

Aquaculture Updates​

Shellfish Lease 2023-24 Annual Usage Reports, Invoices and Permitting​

The annual shellfish aquaculture lease annual report and invoice mailing are again being primarily delivered via email this year. Starting the first full week of November, the Division will be sending emails to each primary leaseholder (or designee) with all required annual reporting and permit renewal documentation, as well as a 2024 lease rent invoice, attached. Leaseholders with multiple leases will receive a separate email for each lease. The email also provides a cover letter with instructions and a link to our online Annual Usage Report and Invoicing web page. Physical forms and invoices were mailed to the few leaseholders who do not have an email address on file with the Division. All documents must be completed and returned to the Department with your rent payment(s) according to the instructions provided no later than January 1, 2024. Rent may be submitted as one combined payment for all of your leases; however, please note all lease numbers on the memo field of your check. An online electronic payment option is also available on the Maryland Onestop Portal​. If you have not received an electronic or hard-copy mailing for one or more of your leases by November 15, 2023, please check your spam or junk mail folder. If you do not find it there, please contact us at​ or 410-260-2401 to report a missing packet.

​Shellfish Aquaculture Application Tracking Tools​

In October 2018, the Department launched a new set of online tools to help educate and engage the public on proposed aquaculture lease applications. The tools, which include an application tracking list and email notification system, provide information on pending and proposed commercial shellfish lease applications. Please click here to view the full, original press release.​

Shellfish Aquaculture Monthly Harvest Report Reminder

All leaseholders are reminded to check their records to make sure that monthly harvest reports are being submitted to the Department in a timely manner. The terms of the Shellfish Aquaculture Harvester Permit (SAHP) require the primary Permittee/Leaseholder to submit a monthly harvest report to the Department even if you are not actively harvesting. Signed reports are due within 10 days of the end of the month for which you are reporting. In order to keep your lease in good standing with the Department, please ensure that you are in full compliance with reporting requirements. The Monthly Shellfish Aquaculture Harvest Report form is downloadable from the Fisheries Forms page. If you are unsure if you are missing a report, please contact us to inquire about your status. Additional information and detailed submission instructions are available on the Harvest Reporting page

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Reissued Nationwide Permit 48 for Commercial Shellfish Mariculture Activities

On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published a final rule in the Federal Register (86 FR 2744) announcing the reissuance of 12 existing and four new nationwide permits (NWPs), as well as updated NWP general conditions. These NWPS went into effect on March 15, 2021 and will expire on March 14, 2026. The reissued NWP 48 for Commercial Shellfish Mariculture Activities replaced the 2017 version of the NWP 48 that was previously in use to authorize commercial shellfish aquaculture projects proposed within both the Chesapeake Bay and the Coastal Bays, as well as their tributaries in Maryland. The 2021 NWP 48 is a required Federal permit issued pursuant to both Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. A lease applicant applies for this Federal permit and a State shellfish lease simultaneously by submitting a Joint Application for State Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture Lease and Corps of Engineers Federal Permit to the Department. For more information and to review the full Special Public Notice announcing the final suspensions and regional conditions for the 16 reissued 2021 NWPs 48, please visit Baltimore District Special Public Notice, SPN-21-08.

​US Army Corps of Engineers Maintenance Dredging

The Navigation Branch of the US Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore District posts information about all proposed maintenance dredging projects on their Navigation Branch web page. Because dredging activities have the potential to impact nearby leaseholders by temporarily elevating localized sedimentation and/or limiting lease access with dredge support vessels, leaseholders should review project plans and determine if it may be necessary to take precautionary measures to protect product and equipment.

Current public notices are displayed in chronological order, and you may click on a specific project link to view the public notice documents and associated drawings. Project comments should be directed to the District project manager listed in the notice, and include your name, address, and phone number as well as the public notice number or application number.

Aquaculture Education and Training Programs

The University of Maryland Extension's Aquaculture Program routinely offers a range of evening and day-long workshops as well as in-depth short courses and other educational events that are designed to provide leaseholders or prospective lease applicants with the knowledge and training needed to enhance your operation or enter the industry. For more information, please visit the University of Maryland Extension Aquaculture Page​ and for regular event updates, follow their Facebook Page.

Leaseholder Email Notification List

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Aquaculture and Industry Enhancement Division maintains a leaseholder email notification service. Leaseholders who have an e-mail address on file with our Division will receive important information and announcements faster and in an eco-friendly way. Your email address remains confidential and will only be used for shellfish aquaculture related business. If you are an existing leaseholder and would like to sign-up, please send your name, lease number(s) and email address to or call 410-260-8652. You may remove yourself from the contact list at any time.

2010 Shellfish Aquaculture Reform

View the entire 2010 regulatory package for aquaculture reform published in the July 2, 2010 issue of the Maryland Register here.​​