Remote Setting is a method of producing seed that was developed in the Pacific Northwest. It relies on hatcheries to produce oyster seed up to the eyed pediveliger stage just prior to the time when the animals get ready to undergo metamorphosis, attach to a substrate and become spat.
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.
Starting a shellfish aquaculture business requires many important decisions. These include: what type of gear to use; what markets to target with your products; where to find a suitable lease and what type to apply for; how to make out the applications; where to find financing; and many others that can make or break the business.
The traditional method of oyster production is bottom culture using a Submerged Land Lease (SLL) granted by the State of Maryland. This creates a landlord/tenant relationship between the grower and the State, allowing the leaseholder to grow oysters using methods that mimic a natural oyster reef.
Oyster aquaculture in Maryland is carried out using both traditional bottom leases as well as newer water column leases that utilize containment gear to produce single oysters. This manual describes the different types of production methods that can be used to build an aquaculture business and is designed to help prospective growers choose a method as well as equipment that will result in the production of high quality shellfish.