Regulatory Compliance

In order to legally operate a sea farm, several important state and federal requirements need to be met and additional permits beyond a lease or LPA must be obtained. Failure to operate legally can endanger public health, spread disease, spark public opposition, and result in your lease or LPA being revoked.



DMR Requirements

Basic requirements:

  • Follow all specific conditions found at the end of you lease decision. For example, if the lease specifies that you cannot tumble oysters on the weekends, don’t tumble oysters on the weekend.
  • Pay your Annual Rent of $100/acre on time.
  • Complete your Annual Report on time.
  • An Aquaculture License is required to harvest and sell product.
  • Mark your site in accordance with DMR marking requirements.
  • Only grow species approved on your lease or LPA, use approved gear, install gear consistent with your lease application, and keep all gear within the approved boundaries of your lease site.
  • An Application for The Importation or Introduction of Marine Invertebrates and Algae (transfer permit) may be required to move shellfish between sites. Examples that require a permit are moving animals between LPA Health Zones or out a Restricted Area such as the Damariscotta or Sheepscot Rivers. Make sure to contact DMR Division of Aquaculture staff before moving animals to be safe.
  • Go to for more info.

Because they’re based on a national ordinance, the BPH requirements are complicated and change from time to time. The best thing to do is to call the Regional Supervisor assigned to your site's region and ask what you need to do. Make sure to avoid harvesting during Bacterial or Biotoxin Closures and tag harvested product. It is illegal to drive product to a buyer such as a restaurant or a wholesale/retail distributor without the right permit from the Bureau of Public Health. More information at

In cases where the change is significant, you need to apply for the change by filling out a Lease or LPA Amendment Form. Allowable amendments to LPAs include contact information, assistants, mooring type and layout, source of stock, and species. DMR allows species and gear amendments for leases provided the change is in line with what was reviewed and approved by DMR initially. The bottom line is to contact DMR Division of Aquaculture staff and ask if you’re unsure.

Army Corps Requirements

When your lease or LPA was issued, you also received a permit from the Corps because they are mandated to review any structure for negative impacts relating to navigation; and coordinate with other federal agencies to review for impacts to a suite of federal laws (e.g., Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act). A Corps permit is required for a lease or LPA, just like for a dock or work float. Compliance here is easy: only use gear that is approved in your permit and install it consistent with the permit.

Coast Guard Requirements

The Coast Guard requires that your lease is marked clearly for safety and requires that your lease is marked according to the Private Aids to Navigation (PATON) guidelines.

Regulatory Resources