Shellfish propagation permits for aquaculture

One of the largest efforts of the shellfish program is aquaculture management. If you are interested in learning about aquaculture or getting a permit, read on.

About aquaculture management

The Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) Shellfish Program regulates shellfish aquaculture. If you are involved in this activity, we can help you by:

  • Licensing aquaculture sites by municipalities
  • Permitting aquaculturists to get and keep sub-legal shellfish for transplant and grow-out to legal size.

DMF assists municipalities by certifying after inspection of the project area (as required by statute Chapter 130, Sec. 57;MGL) that a license and operation will cause no large negative effect on shellfish or other natural resources of the city or town.

If you are an aquaculturist, you must get a DMF propagation permit each year. Each permit is specific to the needs of the individual grower based upon a permit application.

The purpose of this process is to control the introduction of shellfish diseases, non-native shellfish species and other pests or predators into Massachusetts's waters. About 300 propagation permits are issued each year.

Other related activities include:

  • Assisting individuals in the licensing and permitting process.
  • Providing information on aquaculture to interested parties.
  • Assisting municipalities with site selection before formal site survey to avoid DMF denial.
  • Assisting growers in finding seed sources.
  • Working with hatcheries to become certified to sell seed in Massachusetts.

If you are interested in a propagation permit, please contact Chris Schillaci at (508) 990-2860 x 135 or christopher.schillaci@state.ma.us. 

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