The increased production of oysters and clams in the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays of Maryland will be a key contributor to expanding the region's seafood industry. The Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO) is partnering with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to help make affordable, subsidized loan financing available to commercial watermen, other individuals and businesses wishing to start or expand shellfish aquaculture operations. The University of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Agriculture are also contributing to this important effort by making training and business planning assistance available to current and prospective commercial shellfish growers.
Because the demand for funding is expected to exceed available financial resources in the short-term, MARBIDCO and DNR will give priority to applicants who plan to begin shellfish production operations during 2011. This means that persons planning shellfish production operations must currently hold a DNR shellfish aquaculture lease, or must have applied to DNR for a shellfish aquaculture lease by no later than Monday, November 15, 2010. Persons holding State water column leases are also eligible to apply. In addition, all applicants must have production and business plans that demonstrate the financial feasibility of the planned aquaculture operation. A shellfish aquaculture business planning template and other useful information about shellfish aquaculture can be found below.
All applications to the Maryland Shellfish Aquaculture Financing Fund (including any required attachments) for the initial round of program funding must be submitted to MARBIDCO by the close of business no later than Tuesday, November 30, 2010. Additional information about the shellfish aquaculture financing program is provided below. A project financing submission checklist is included at the end of the application form which should be reviewed carefully.
On October 21, 2010, Governor Martin O'Malley announced a new program to provide affordable financing to watermen and others interested in launching or expanding commercial shellfish aquaculture operations in Maryland. Of the State's $10.6 million oyster restoration budget for fiscal year 2011, $2.2 million in subsidized loans will be available for aquaculture projects through a partnership between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO).
Shellfish aquaculture financing program application form - including checklist, in pdf format. Shellfish aquaculture financing program application form - including checklist, in Microsoft Word file format. Aquaculture business planning template Fact Sheet
Information about the financing program and starting an aquaculture business in Maryland can also be obtained from the MDA Aquaculture Coordinating Office at (410) 841-5724.
Information concerning shellfish aquaculture leases may be obtained by calling Steve Schneider of the DNR Fisheries Services at (410) 260-8329.