Types of Aquaculture Licenses

There are multiple types of aquaculture leases and permits in the state of Maine. For most municipalities conservation projects such as using upwellers, use of suspended equipment and others. 

Standard Aquaculture Lease

A standard aquaculture lease is the most permanent and difficult lease to obtain for A standard aquaculture lease is the most permanent and onerous lease to obtain for aquaculture companies and aquaculturists. This lease can be up to 100 acres of subtidal or intertidal space and last for up to 20 years. The application fees for non-discharge leases total $1,500. Afterwards people who hold leases pay $100 per acre each year. The application process includes: a pre-application meeting, a public scoping session, site visit(s), a public hearing, and a final decision set forth by the DMR Commissioner’s office. 

Experimental Lease

An experimental lease permits the lease holder to culture finfish, shellfish, and marine algae on up to 4 acres for commercial or scientific purposes. Experimental leases for commercial purposes cannot be renewed after 3 years. There is a $100 application fee and then an additional fee every year owned ($100/acre). There is a public comment period that is required, and public hearings may be held. 

Limited Purpose Aquaculture Permit

A limited purpose aquaculture permit (LPA) is a permit designed to be a more accessible permit for individuals to test out aquaculture methodologies in various spaces in the An LPA is designed to be more accessible than the standard or experimental lease for individuals to test aquaculture methodologies in the intertidal and subtidal. For communities, this is the fastest option to get licenses for conservation projects. An LPA authorizes the use of aquaculture gear on up to 400 square feet for 1 year. When approved, municipalities can conduct conservation activities such as deploying floating structures. There is no public scoping session or hearing required, however there are a number of people, including the DMR Division of Aquaculture, the Army Corp of Engineers, and the local municipal shellfish committee  who need to approve the application before activities can be conducted if the area is in the intertidal. In general, the application process can take between 30 and 90 days.