Aquaculture and Industry Enhancement Division


Aquaculture Updates


2021 Shellfish Aquaculture Harvester Permit Renewal Update 

12/22/20: Due to unanticipated interruptions in postal service deliveries and work disruptions related to mandatory state telework requirements, the Shellfish Aquaculture Harvester Permit renewal process has been delayed. As outlined in this leaseholder notification letter​, the expiration of 2020 Shellfish Aquaculture Harvester Permit and Registration Cards has been extended through February 28, 2021. Beginning March 1, 2021, Permittees and Registrants will be required to carry newly issued 2021 cards while engaging in aquaculture activities on shellfish leases. Additionally, staff has implemented a two-week grace period on the deadline to submit annual paperwork, to January 15, 2021. Paperwork received after January 15, 2021 may not be processed in time for 2021 cards to be mailed and/or received by March 1, 2021.​

Effective Friday, March 13, 2020, State offices were placed on mandatory telework status by the Governor. The Aquaculture and Industry Enhancement Division is working tirelessly to continue providing our customary services. This includes ensuring that all eligible leaseholders are appropriately permitted and able to continue conducting aquaculture activities in 2021. Because of the safety and logistical challenges of completing such a large mailing while under mandatory telework orders, the 2020/21 annual report and invoice mailing will primarily be delivered via email.

During the first week of November, the Division will be sending emails to each primary leaseholder (or designee) with three personalized documents attached: a 2020 Annual Usage Report Form, a 2021 Shellfish Aquaculture Harvester Permit Registrant Renewal Form, and a 2021 Lease Rent Invoice. Leaseholders with multiple leases will receive a separate email for each lease. The email will also provide instructions for downloading and printing several additional required forms from our online Annual Usage Report and Invoicing web page. All documents should be completed and returned to the Department with your rent payment(s) according to the instructions provided.

Please ensure that is listed as an approved contact within your email service so that this time-sensitive communication is not inadvertently directed to your spam or junk mail folder. If you would like to update or provide a new email address ahead of this mailing, please do so as soon as possible by contacting Kellie Dennis at​. Physical forms and invoices will be mailed to leaseholders who do not have an email address on file with the Division.

Go to our new Annual Usage Report and Invoicing page for more information.

Shellfish Aquaculture Application Tracking Tools​

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has 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 when they are received by the department. Please click here to view the full press release.

Oyster 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, subscribe to their Facebook Page.

US Army Corps of Engineers Reinstates Nationwide Permit #48 for Aquaculture Activities​

The Baltimore District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has reinstated the suspended 2012 Nationwide Permit #48 (NWP #48) with revised regional conditions for new and existing commercial shellfish aquaculture activities in Maryland tidal waters. NWP #48 replaced the expired Regional General Permit-1 for commercial aquaculture activities, and is a required Federal permit issued in conjunction with State shellfish aquaculture leases for those who wish to farm shellfish in Maryland waters. The reinstated 2012 NWP #48 authorizes new and existing commercial shellfish aquaculture activities without acreage thresholds within Maryland waters pursuant to both Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. In addition, several changes were made to the District’s aquaculture permit review processes. The reinstated NWP#48 and revised regional conditions became effective in Maryland waters as of August 16, 2016. For more information and to review the full Special Public Notice regarding the reinstatement of the 2010 NWP #48, please visit Baltimore District Public Notice 16-47.

​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 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 on the website. Click on the specific project link for a full viewing of the public notice documents and its associated drawings (if any) and on the project manager's name to send an email comment directly to the Project Manager. Comments made in reference to a public notice should include your name, address, and phone number as well as the public notice number or application number on all correspondence to the District. 

To access the Corp's maintenance dredging project public notices, please visit the Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore District's Navigation Branch website​.


Vibrio Bacteria Fact Sheet Available

The Maryland Department of the Environment has created a "Marylanders' Gu​ide to Skin Wounds and Water Contact"​ fact sheet that provides information about Vibrio bacteria that naturally occur in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and ways to protect yourself against infection.


Department of Natural Resources Aquaculture Electronic Notification System

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 410-260-8648. You may remove yourself from the contact list at any time.


Department of Natural Resources 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. Please recall that 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 10 days after the end of the month for which you are reporting. In order to keep your lease in active standing with the Department, please consult your records to ensure that you are in full compliance with our reporting requirements. Additional copies of the Harvest Report form may be printed from the "Fisheries Forms" page. If you are unsure if you are missing a report, please contact us to inquire about your status. Shellfish Aquaculture Harvester Permit renewal for 2019 may be delayed for those leases which still have missing 2018 reports at the end of this year.

Please promptly send any missing reports to:

Department of Natural Resources, Fishing and Boating Services
Shellfish Aquaculture Harvest Report
580 Taylor Avenue E-4
Annapolis, MD 21401

Or you may fax reports to: 410-260-8310 Attn: Aquaculture Harvest Report.

If you have questions about monthly reporting, please contact Kari Bradberry at 410-260-8648.​​


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.