Leasing Options

Below is a table outlining the various permitting/leasing options in order to conduct aquaculture in Maine waters. For more information on leasing, please visit the Maine DMR web site by clicking here.


Type of Permission No Permit LPA License Experimental Lease Standard Lease
What can I grow  Anything except finfish, no imports Blue Mussels, certain clams, certain oysters  Any species already present in Maine  Any species already present in Maine
 How much space can I occupy?  Any size ≤  400 sq ft of gear: length x width (e.g. a 20’x20’ raft) Up to 4 acres, can be bottom or suspended, or both  Up to 100 acres, can be bottom or suspended or both
How long will the lease or license last?  N/A  1 calendar year: all LPAs expire Dec 31 each year  Up to 3 years, start date flexible within 1 yr. of lease decision  Up to 20 years
 How much will it cost?  $0 $50/year

$100 application fee +

$100/acre/year rent

App Fee: $1,500 (shellfish), $2,000 (finfish) + Rent: $100/acre/yr +  Renewal fees in 20 yrs
What types of gear can I use? None – bottom culture only Certain types specified in rule, (e.g. rafts, soft bags, tray racks, lantern nets, upwellers) Any, as long as appropriate for site Any, as long as appropriate for site
Is my product legally protected from poaching? No Yes Yes Yes
Do I need to get a bond? No No Yes Yes
Site visit required? No No Yes – but typically no dive Yes, full site review
Will I have to have a scoping session and public hearing? No No – Only municipal official signature required Maybe: it’s at DMR’s discretion or if 5 or more people request a hearing Yes
How long will it take to get this lease or license? N/A After application is received at DMR, it takes a few weeks Varies depending on whether a hearing is required and when the application is filed. Typically 3 months to a year. Varies depending on when the application is filed and how complicated the application and issues are. Typically 8 months to two years
Renewable? N/A Yes No (except for research) Yes
Notes Any licensed harvester can take that product. There is no exemption for undersize – so cannot possess undersize product Good tool for nursery sites, trying new areas, relay sites, hobby or small operations. Renewed each year – town and nearby landowners can comment each year, so not guaranteed to continue from year to year. If a standard lease application is filed more than 90 days before the expiration of the experimental lease, the experimental lease continues until DMR makes a decision on the standard lease application. Public process is extensive, but this is the best tool for long-term operations.