Aquaculture Updates

Notice: 2013 SAHP and/or Registrant Cards Expiration Date Extended to 1/31/2014

The Department is extending the expiration date of the 2013 Shellfish Aquaculture Harvester Permits (SAHP) and/or Registrant Cards through January 31, 2014. Please see the December 20th Notification Letter sent to all current shellfish leaseholders for complete details. Contact Katie Busch at 410-260-8342 or if you have any questions.

US Army Corps of Engineers maintenance dredging schedule for Federal FY14

The Department of Natural Resources Aquaculture Division would like to inform leaseholders of the US Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore District maintenance dredging schedule for Federal FY14 (Oct 1, 2013 - Sept 30, 2014). 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 is necessary to take precautionary measures to protect product and equipment. Areas scheduled for dredging in FY14 include the Wicomico River, MD; Ocean City, MD in the Isle of Wight and Sinepuxent Bay channels; and in the Brewerton Channel in Baltimore Harbor.

For additional information and copies of the Corp's maintenance dredging project public notices, please visit the Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore District's Navigation Branch website. Notices for all sites may not yet be posted.

Notice: Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Applications

Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Application materials have been updated as of 9/06/13 to reflect recent leadership and regulatory changes. Previous versions of the application will no longer be accepted after September 30, 2013

Oyster Gardening Registration

Oyster gardeners and growers are now required to register with the Department of Natural Resources. The registration process begins February 1, 2013 and can be completed using an online form. Details regarding this registration requirement are available in a Fact Sheet on Oyster Gardening.

MD DNR Aquaculture Electronic Notification System

The MD DNR Aquaculture Division is announcing its new leaseholder email notification program. Leaseholders who have an e-mail address on file with our Division will receive important Shellfish Aquaculture Program information 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 410-260-2405.

MD DNR 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 this web page, to the right, under "Shellfish Aquaculture Forms". If you are unsure if you are missing a report, please contact us to inquire about your status. SAHP renewal for 2014 may be delayed for those leases which still have missing 2013 reports at the end of this year.

Please promptly send any missing reports to:
DNR Fisheries Services, Shellfish Aquaculture Harvest Report
580 Taylor Avenue B-2, Annapolis, MD 21401

Or you may fax reports to: 410-260-8279 Attn: Aquaculture Division.

If you have questions about monthly reporting, please contact the Aquaculture Division Harvest Reporting section at 410-260-2405.

Recent History of Shellfish Aquaculture Development in Maryland
  • In 2004 the oyster Environmental Impact Statement was initiated to evaluate oyster restoration and industry revitalization alternatives.
  • In 2007 the Oyster Advisory Commission found that the greatest opportunity for expanding the economic production of oysters in Maryland is through privatization and aquaculture.
  • In September 2008, the Maryland Shellfish Aquaculture Plan was developed and published through the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) in consultation with the MD DNR, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), Maryland Aquaculture Coordinating Council, and the Board of Public Works.
  • Recommendations from this plan and the Oyster Advisory Commission about how to develop a sustainable shellfish industry while creating opportunity for prospective aquaculture shellfish growers in Maryland waters were implemented into Senate Bill 271/House Bill 312. This bill passed both the houses unanimously and was made into law on March 24, 2009.
  • The law outlines the requirements for prospective and current shellfish leaseholders.
  • Based on the new laws and associated regulations, DNR began accepting applications for commercial shellfish aquaculture bottom leases on September 7th, 2010.

    Oyster Aquaculture Video
    Video highlighting Governor Martin O'Malley's Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan, including subsidized MARBIDCO loans.

    Latest Shellfish Aquaculture News
    NRP Blotter | (1/17/2014)
    The Maryland Natural Resources Police Tuesday charged four men with power dredging for oysters in the Harris Creek Sanctuary in Tilghman Island. Officers charged Bartlett Wade Murphy Jr., 39, and Benjamin Murphy, 62, both of Tilghman Island, with removing oys...

    Applications for Aquaculture Coordinating Council Position Now Being Accepted | (12/13/2013)
    Due to term expirations, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications for a Tidal Fisheries Licensed (TFL) member seat on the Aquaculture Coordinating Council (ACC). The ACC works with DNR and stakeholders on aquaculture industry issu...

    Governor O'Malley Announces Record 1.2 Billion Oyster Spat Production | (10/11/2013)
    Governor O'Malley Announces Record 1.25 Billion Oyster Spat Production, Significant Progress under Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan Governor Martin O'Malley today announced that the State and its partners produced and planted a record...

    DNR to Hold St Maryís River Oyster Leasing Public Meeting | (11/29/2012)
    The Maryland Department of Natural Resource (DNR) will hold a public meeting to discuss adding criteria to regulated oyster aquaculture inside of the St. Maryís River Oyster Sancturary on December 6 from 3 to 7 p.m. It is the Departmentís view that a regulate...

    Governor Martin O'Malley Announces Maryland Native Oyster Survival Rate Highest Since 1985 | (2/13/2012)
    Governor proposes $8 million capital investment for oyster restoration Oyster disease levels lowest on record Governor Martin O'Malley today announced another landmark in the State's ongoing efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay's native oyster populati...