With the revision of Maryland’s shellfish leasing laws in 2009 and the concentration of authority in the Department of Natural Resources new Aquaculture Division, a great many new businesses have developed. Maryland offers both traditional Submerged Land Leases as well as Water Column Leases and, with the development of a Regional General Permit with the US Army Corps of Engineers, has been able to make permits easier to obtain. There are also Nursery Permits for those producing seed.
Support programs have been provided to growers in Aquaculture Education & Training by University of Maryland Extension and the Remote Setting Training Program by the Oyster Recovery Partnership and Horn Point Hatchery. Low-interest financing has been made available through dedicated funds managed by the Maryland Agriculture and Resource-Based Industries Development Corporation (MARBIDCO). USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has included funds for bottom habitat enhancement through their Environmental Quality Improvement Practices. The Maryland General Assembly and the Office of the Governor have assisted by making laws more business friendly for shellfish aquaculture while recognizing that it provide economic development and employment in our rural areas while aiding the environment through important biofiltration and nutrient cycling.
Look for Maryland products when you are shopping and support the people who are making a difference to our state through their entrepreneurship.