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Department Launches New Shellfish Aquaculture Application Tools

Customer Service Enhancements to Provide Early Notification of Proposed Leases

Photo of aquaculture cageThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources today launched a new set of online tools to help educate and engage the public on proposed aquaculture lease applications. The tools, which include a dynamic database and email notification system, will provide information on pending and proposed commercial shellfish lease applications when they are received by the department.

The customer service enhancements are being rolled out after a series of conversations and meetings with aquaculturists, commercial watermen, community and county leaders, homeowners associations and others throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

“During our statewide listening sessions, we heard time and again that community leaders wanted to be alerted about proposed aquaculture projects earlier in the permitting process,” Fishing and Boating Services Director David Blazer said. “The new early notification system will provide near real-time data on all future aquaculture lease applications as well as information on location, status and type.”

The new tools will provide users with information on submitted shellfish aquaculture lease applications, including the applicant, county, body of water where the proposed project is to be located as well as its size, status and type. Once an application is under review, it will also include a map of the proposed lease. 

Commercial shellfish aquaculture lease applications received since Jan. 1, 2018, and determined to be complete, will appear on the database. An application’s designation as “complete” does not mean that it is approved. All proposed leases are subject to change throughout the permitting process.