Things to Know Before Applying for an LPA

Before Applying

Please note a few things before beginning the application: You will need to meet and create a plan for the space, including gear used, how Before applying for an LPA please consider that you will need a very detailed plan for your proposed license area. This includes what gear will be used, how large the gear may be, what orientation the gear will have within the LPA, and if there will be any seasonal changes to that gear orientation. In addition, there is a non-refundable $100 application fee for residents, and $400 for non residents, and the entire application approval process can take 30 days or longer. If approved, you will also need to renew your LPA each year, as each LPA license expires on December 31st. To renew an LPA, you need to fill out renewal documents, pay a renewal fee ( (sent by DMR earlier in the year) as well as complete an educational course. If the renewal process is not completed, all gear needs to be removed from the LPA license area before December 31st. 

Requirements For LPAS

There are various requirements for LPAs, this list is shown on the page iii of the application document (to find that document, follow the steps below). These requirements include but are not limited to: 

  1. Total number of licenses: No more than four licenses can be held by any one person or municipal shellfish committee.
  2. Density limit: There can only be four LPAs within a 1,000 ft radius. 
  3. Total number of assistants: Only 3 people can be declared assistants. Students can also conduct work on the LPA, however, the person who holds the license must represent an educational institution. 
  4. Signatures: All applications in the intertidal (above the extreme low water mark) must be signed by the shellfish committee chair (if there is a shellfish committee). 
  5. Water quality considerations: LPA license sites for shellfish may not be within 300 feet of any areas classified as “Prohibited” and can only be located in areas that are classified as “Approved” or “Conditionally Approved”, except for the sole culture of seed. To find out about the classifications in your area, you can visit the DMR web portal, here. Make sure when using the map that in the key on the right, you have clicked “Current NSSP Classifications” to see closed areas. 
  6. Habitat: LPAs cannot be in any areas declared “Essential Habitat” by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, or within 660 ft of eagles nests. You can check for an eagle’s nest on this map by clicking here.
  7. Landowner notification: You are also required to notify riparian landowners within 300 feet of the proposed LPA by sending, via certified mail, a copy of the LPA application, including information about how riparian owners can submit comments to DMR regarding issuance or renewal of the license. Landowner data is usually available on municipal websites usually under a tax assessor section. Please note when reviewing aquaculture applications DMR considers riparian ownership to extend to the Mean Low Water (MLW) line or 1650 feet from shore.
  8. Army Corps Permit: A permit from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is required before conducting any activities in the license area including deploying any gear. The DMR will forward your application to the Army Corp once it is received.

Information For LPA Licenseholders

No Discharge: The licensed activity described in the application cannot add any foreign substances to the water within the license area. 

Carry a Copy of LPA License: License holders and named assistants are the only people legally allowed to handle the gear within the license area. You must each carry a copy of the LPA license whenever you are engaged in activity on the LPA site.

Restriction on Harvest: LPAs in a prohibited area can only be used for seed and harvest of shellfish is prohibited. An LPA does not qualify for exemptions from biotoxin closures. 

Record-Keeping and Annual Report: You must maintain accurate records of any transport, transfer, harvest, and monitoring within the license area. You need to keep these records available for inspection for at least two years and submit an annual report to the DMR Commissioner. For more information, please review the LPA application document, page iv.  

Site Marking: The corners of your LPA site must be clearly labeled with buoys supporting letters at least 2 inches high spelling “Sea Farm” and your Site ID. For more information please visit the link below, 

Maintenance Standards: All aquaculture gear must be maintained and kept in a fully operational condition. You should also proactively ensure that bird or mammal waste does not accumulate on gear and adversely impact water quality on or around your LPA. 

Contact the Coast Guard: You must contact the U.S. Coast Guard Private Aids to Navigation Office to determine if a Private Aid to Navigation is needed to mark your site. The best first step is to contact Steve Pothier at 617-223-8347 or To begin the application process, go to and register. Send DMR a copy of any Coast Guard marking requirements.  


This timeline highlights the various steps needed to complete a LPA application.

The application process can take anywhere from 30-90 days from start to finish, including filling out the application, submitting it, and then allowing adequate time for the DMR and Army Corp permit approval process. This means that municipal shellfish committees should plan ahead, in order to have the permits in hand before beginning any projects.

Please note – DMR Staff recommends applying over the winter (January- February) for spring projects to provide adequate time for the application process before starting the project. The DMR does not accept new applications starting October 1st prior to renewal (December 31st).