Shellfish Aquaculture FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Legal Sale of Oysters

Q: How do I get Farm-Raised Shellfish Tags?
A: Contact Kellie Dennis at​ or 410-260-8652​

Q: Can I sell my own harvest from my lease?
A: Yes, if you have a Shellfish Certification from the Department of Health. This certification allows the harvester to sell ONLY his/her own catch.

Q: Why do I need two licenses to sell shellfish?
A: There are rules from the Food and Drug Administration called the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Model Ordinance that are required for every State that sells shellfish as a food product. This includes the rule that oysters and clams for human consumption may only be sold to dealers that are certified by the Department of Health. This rule is in the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Health regulation and will be enforced by Natural Resources Police for the safety of both the public and the industry. It is in the best interest of the industry to follow these rules and for Maryland to be known as a source of safe, healthy shellfish.


Q: Who can harvest on a lease?
A: Permittees and Registrants ONLY


Q: When do I need to renew my lease?
A: 20 years after the lease was issued

Q: What if the lease was transferred to me? Do I renew my lease 20 years after it was transferred?
A: NO, you have to renew your lease 20 years after the date it was originally issued

Q: How many times am I allowed to renew my lease?
A: Twice. After the lease has been in existence for 40 years you are required to submit a new application for the lease area.

Harvesting Reporting

Q: Do I need to send in a Harvest Report even if I did not harvest shellfish on my lease?
A: YES, you are required to submit a Harvest Report for every month of the year regardless if you harvested or not. Please check the box "NO HARVEST" and write in the corresponding months. You are allowed to report multiple no harvest months on one form.

Q: When are Harvest Reports due?
A: On the 10th day of the following month.

Q: Can I submit my harvest for multiple leases on one report form?
A: NO, you must submit a separate Harvest Report form for each one of your leases

Q: What should I do if I lost my blank report forms?
A: You can find a link to a blank report form on our website under "Harvest Reporting"

Q: What should I do if I lost my barcode stickers?
A: That is OK, please just make sure to write your full name, lease number, and month you are reporting harvest on the report form.

Q: Can a Registrant on my lease sign the report form?
A: NO, only Permittess have signatory authority on Harvest Reports

Q: Should I keep a copy of the reports sent for my own records?
A: YES, please keep a copy incase the report you sent is lost in the mail