Opportunities for More Efficient Permitting of Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture
This document is intended as a reference for federal agencies who are involved in the permitting process for commercial shellfish aquaculture.
The initial start-up of a commercial shellfish aquaculture farm in the United States is subject to multiple regulatory requirements under federal, state, tribal, and local authorities.
In addition to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit under the Rivers and Harbors Act (Section 10) and the Clean Water Act (Section 404), a commercial shellfish aquaculture farm must obtain all other required permits from the appropriate federal, state, local, or tribal authority.
Examples include leases and permits from state agencies and permits from other federal agencies under these and other statutes:
- Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (for harvesting of some shellfish species in federal waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone)
- National Marine Sanctuaries Act (for shellfish operations within a national marine sanctuary);
- Marine Mammal Protection Act (for shellfish aquaculture operations that may harm marine mammals)
- Migratory Bird Treaty Act (for shellfish aquaculture operations that may harm migratory birds)
This fact sheet provides information about permits issued by the Corps for commercial shellfish aquaculture. Once in place, a Corps General Permit provides a simplified alternative to an individual Corps permit for eligible commercial shellfish aquaculture farms.
Although a commercial shellfish farm must meet additional federal, state, local, and tribal requirements, the General Permit provides a streamlined approach to fulfilling the main regulatory requirements under federal laws and regulations.
This fact sheet was developed primarily as a reference for federal agencies involved in the permitting process and focuses on the General Permit procedural issues related to Endangered Species Act and Essential Fish Habitat compliance.