Maryland has increased public access to information on proposed shellfish tenures by posting pending commercial shellfish lease applications on the state government website.
The new set of online tools is aimed at helping educate and engage the public on proposed aquaculture lease applications. The tools include a dynamic database and email notification system managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
The tools were launched following consultation with aquaculturists, commercial watermen, community and county leaders, homeowners associations and others throughout the Chesapeake Bay. “During our state-wide listening sessions, we heard time and again that community leaders wanted to be alerted about proposed aquaculture projects earlier in the permitting process,” Fishing and Boating Services Director David Blazer said. “The new early notification system will provide near real-time data on all future aquaculture lease applications as well as information on location, status and type.”
Commercial shellfish aquaculture lease applications received since January 1, 2018, and determined to be complete, will appear on the database. “An application’s designation as ‘complete’ does not mean that it is approved. All proposed leases are subject to change throughout the permitting process,” the Department of Natural Resources said in a statement.