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Shellfish Aquaculture Portal
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NOAA prioritizes using shellfish farming and restoration to get more oysters, clams, and mussels in water for food, jobs, and ecosystem services. However, the process of permitting marine shellfish aquaculture (for farming or restoration) continues to be a primary constraint to its expansion. Stakeholders face a complicated process characterized by layers of regulations and complex application, review, and approval processes. The Office of Aquaculture, in cooperation with its partners, is addressing environmental research, spatial planning, permitting, and restoration and farming techniques through the National Shellfish Initiative.
The Aquaculture Office also has sponsored a number of outreach efforts aimed at improving stakeholder knowledge of the interactions of shellfish aquaculture and the environment and the permitting process for aquaculture in state waters.
Though still a work in progress, the information in this website is meant to provide resources to aid in the proper siting of aquaculture projects, lead to an expedited review of applications, and reduce the time required for producers to acquire aquaculture permits. The ultimate goal is to foster development of shellfish aquaculture while conserving living marine resources and their habitats.
Oyster aquaculture creates in-situ habitat for a diverse collection of aquatic animals and, as filter feeders, removes sediment and excess algae from the water. Here, a Maryland Oyster farm. [credit: NOAA Aquaculture Office]