Shellfish Lease and Franchise To learn about the status of a current shellfish lease application or about the location of an active or terminated shellfish lease, please use this interactive DMF Shellfish Aquaculture Tool. Learn more about the tool and Shellfish Lease Siting. If this map is not displaying properly, view it in a standalone browser window. Lease FAQs Aquaculture Permits Public Hearings The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries administers the Shellfish Lease and Franchise Program for the purposes of shellfish cultivation, aquaculture and mariculture within the State of North Carolina. The state has allowed shellfish leases on unproductive bottom since 1858. Shellfish Lease Applications North Carolina Aquaculture Gear Management and Storm Preparedness Resource Guide The application period for 2022 has closed. 2022 Applications were accepted March 1 through August 1, 2022. The division will begin accepting applications for 2023 on March 1, 2023. Applications that are incomplete, filled incorrectly, or propose ineligible shellfish lease sites will be denied. The application fee is nonrefundable and nontransferable. Changes to the 2022 Shellfish Lease Application: Storm Prep and Gear Management Plan - all new applications must include a comprehensive storm prep and gear management plan (Section 5 of the application, information in Appendix VII). This plan is mandatory and must be completed. Please contact staff if you have any questions. Shellfish lease rule language changes impacting applications may take effect during the application period. These rules include: 250’ riparian setback requirement unless the application is accompanied by a signed riparian owner permission form. 250’ buffer between proposed shellfish leases and all existing leases or proposed leases. Cumulative impact language that will allow the director to consider the impacts of existing shellfish leases (among other factors) when making a final decision to approve or deny a shellfish lease application. Marking requirements for shellfish leases and franchises to limit the allowable number of corners for defining the area to be leased to eight, each corner stake to have yellow light reflective tape or yellow light reflective devices, and each water column shellfish lease must have additional signage on each corner stake providing caution. Training program requirements for new shellfish lease applicants. Shellfish bottom lease and water column applications are accepted annually from March 1 through Aug. 1. Shellfish lease site investigations are conducted from April 1 through Oct. 1 to coincide with the growing season for submerged aquatic vegetation. To learn about the status of a current shellfish lease application or about the location of an active or terminated shellfish lease, please use our interactive shellfish aquaculture tool. The shellfish aquaculture tool is designed to allow new shellfish lease applicants, current shellfish lease holders, and anyone else interested in shellfish leases to follow the application process. The tool is updated weekly to ensure the most up-to-date information is posted. Shellfish Lease Presentation Shellfish Lease Siting NC DMF Shellfish Aquaculture Tool Quick User's Guide NC DMF Shellfish Aquaculture Tool User's Manual To learn about the status of a current shellfish lease application or about the location of an active or terminated shellfish lease, please use the interactive DMF Shellfish Aquaculture Tool. The Shellfish Aquaculture Tool is designed to allow new shellfish lease applicants, current shellfish lease holders, and anyone else interested in shellfish leases to follow the application process. Users can see existing shellfish leases, closed areas, historical seagrass beds, and terminated shellfish leases to better inform the site selection process. The tool is updated weekly to ensure the most up-to-date information is posted. The shellfish aquaculture tool, in combination with the resources below, are there to assist applicants in planning for a potential shellfish farm site. To get started with the interactive tool, see the User's Guide and User's Manual above. UNCW has also developed a lease siting tool, The North Carolina Shellfish Lease Siting Tool. This tool will assist new or current growers in siting new or expanding shellfish operations on the North Carolina coastline. It provides visual representation of data specifically related to shellfish aquaculture such as salinity, bottom type, depth, and shellfish growing area classifications. Stats and Figures Table 1: Shellfish Lease Type and Total Number and Acreage in North Carolina Shellfish Leases Type Number Total Acreage Bottom 266 1309.25 Water Column 131 393.19 Franchise 48 512.89 Research 3 5.82 Total 448 2221.15 Table 2: Shellfish Lease Applications by Year and Type Shellfish Lease Applications Year Bottom Water Column 2009 0 0 2010 1 1 2011 1 1 2012 8 6 2013 6 10 2014 8 7 2015 9 2 2016 10 11 2017 52 46 2018* 36 33 2019 58 48 2020♦ 29 25 2021♦ 34 29 2022 43 41 *Hurricane Florence (September) resulted in fewer appplications.♦COVID-19 and adjusted application due dates resulted in fewer applications. Shellfish Sanitation The division’s Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section is responsible for ensuring the safety of molluscan shellfish by monitoring water quality throughout coastal waters. Shellfish Sanitation Temporary Closure Public Viewer Statutes, Rules, and Proclamations NC General Statutes - Chapter 113 Article 16 - Cultivation of Shellfish N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rules Polluted Area Proclamations Fisheries Management Proclamations Contacts and Resources Contacts Shellfish Lease and Aquaculture Program Coordinator Owen Mulvey-McFerron252-269-3082 Owen.Mulvey-McFerron@ncdenr.gov Shellfish Lease and Aquaculture Program Assistant Marla Chuffo Marla.Chuffo@ncdenr.gov Aquaculture Permits Coordinator Zach Harrison Zach.Harrison@ncdenr.gov SeaGrant Coastal Aquaculture Specialist Eric Herbst firstname.lastname@example.org Resource Links North Carolina Sea Grant: Can provide valuable assistance in helping you determine capital investment, lease size, grow-out methods, seed sources, and many other important items that will help your aquaculture venture succeed. Carteret Community College: Offers an Aquaculture Technology certificate, as well as a degree. These classes provide technical knowledge about aquaculture, operating a business, and finance management. NOAA: The data is available via NOAA's Marine Cadastre national mapper and viewer. The specific data are for Vessel Traffic density. Generalized summaries are available in the Marine Cadastre viewer. *Note this does not apply to personal watercraft. North Carolina Shellfish Growers Association: industry group that shellfish growers can join and network with other growers. East Coast Shellfish Growers Association: regional association that includes information on shellfish aquaculture including Best Management Practices. They produce a newsletter with updates on legislation, scientific studies, and other pertinent information concerning shellfish growers. Shellfish Sanitation and Closures View the interactive map of current temporary and permanent shellfish closures. Current polluted area proclamations can be viewed on the Polluted Area Proclamations page. Current (Shellfish Sanitation) proclamations specifying time to temperature controls can be viewed on the Fisheries Management Proclamations page.