Regulatory streamlining has often been cited as an effort that is crucial for continued, efficient development of aquaculture in the United States. Similarly, the Massachusetts Aquaculture White Paper and Strategic Plan recognized the need for streamlining the regulatory process in order to facilitate industry expansion. To that end a variety of recommendations aimed at providing permit assistance and simplifying the permit process were among the priority recommendations identified by the Plan.

With the above in mind a number of steps have been taken in effort to facilitate the permitting of aquaculture facilities in Massachusetts. As a first step toward streamlining the permit process for aquaculture enterprises the Massachusetts Aquaculture Permits Guidance Document pdf format of    Aquaculture Permit Guidance Document  was created. Through the efforts of the Permit Streamlining Sub-Committee of the Massachusetts Aquaculture Advisory Group, it was determined that in order to examine how the permit process could be streamlined all permits that may be applicable for any activity associated with any form of aquaculture must be identified. To that end, the Guidance Document pdf format of    Aquaculture Permit Guidance Document  identified and defined all permits and regulatory authority in Massachusetts in accordance with four primary areas of regulatory concern; species to be cultivated, structures may be employed, water source, water/waste discharge. The Guidance Document also includes a checklist that can assist in identifying all permits that may be applicable for any aquaculture facility proposed for Massachusetts.

The Aquaculture Operation Description Form is a two-page "fill in the blank" form that, once completed, provides a snap shot description of the proposed project. The Description Form should be the starting place for the permitting of any aquaculture operation in Massachusetts. Following submittal of the completed form to the Department of Agricultural Resources Aquaculture Specialist, the applicant is either directed to the appropriate regulatory agency for permit application materials or a meeting is arranged, including representatives from all appropriate regulatory agencies.

More information about the permit process for aquaculture operations can be obtained by contacting the Department’s Aquaculture Specialist at Sean.Bowen@state.ma.us.