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Selling Licenses & Certifications

Make sure you understand the different types of licenses and certificates that the state of Maine offers. This is the last step to selling your product, but it's also the most important.

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Questions

Aquaculture License

Yes, the Aquaculture License is now required to harvest and sell farmed shellfish removed from an aquaculture lease or LPA license site.

Farm or Home Sales

Sales of farmed shellfish are not permitted on LPA license sites. You can sell shellfish directly from an experimental or standard lease provided you adhere with the following:

  • Sales are for retail only.
  • Transaction takes place at the farm site (cannot sell off of farm site).
  • Must keep records of the date and number of pieces/pounds of shellfish landed for annual reporting to ME DMR.
  • Adhere to all Bureau of Public Health guidelines.

Yes, you may sell directly from your home in the retail trade except that in Bureau of Public Health Vibrio areas home sales are not allowed during the control months (more information on Vibrio areas here). The sales must be to the final consumer (not for re-sale), and no delivery is allowed. You will need to record the date and number/pounds of shellfish sold and keep those records for 90 days.

Dealers & Wholesale

The Maine Shellfish Dealer Certification and Inspection Program uses the standards outlined by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) to evaluate and certify all wholesale shellfish dealers in Maine. State law requires harvesters to sell shellfish only to certified shellfish dealers. This does not include restaurants, convenience stores, etc.

Selling to a certified shellfish dealer is perhaps the easiest way to get your shellfish to market, and a good way to move larger volumes of product.

A wholesale seafood license allows the holder to buy, sell, shuck, pack, or ship shellfish within or beyond the state limits or transport fresh or frozen shellfish within the state limits. The license itself costs $443 and there is a fee of $37 for each supplemental license, but obtaining a license can be quite expensive because you need to have a certified facility (e.g., cold storage, bathroom, sink) in order to get a wholesale license.

A holder of a Limited Wholesale Shellfish Harvester’s License may, within or beyond the state limits, sell, ship, or transport in the wholesale trade only shellfish the holder has taken. A limited wholesale shellfish harvester’s license authorizes activities under this section at only one establishment and with only one vehicle. The fee for a Limited Wholesale Shellfish Harvester's License is $100.

Enhanced Retail License

Yes, if that restaurant is 1) a certified shellfish dealer, or 2) has a current Enhanced Retail License.

This license entitles retail markets and restaurants to purchase shellfish directly from harvesters for retail sales only. State law requires harvesters to sell shellfish only to certified shellfish dealers and this does not include restaurants, convenience stores, etc. The exception to that law is if the restaurant has an Enhanced Retail License. The Enhanced License is for an establishment that sells at a retail level only and does not include wholesale sales. The fee for an enhanced retail license is $100 and will be deposited in the Shellfish Fund.

If a retail business wants to buy shellfish from a certified dealer, they only need the Retail Seafood License, but if a retail business wants to buy shellfish directly from a harvester, they need an Enhanced Retail License.

Transportation

A Shellfish Transportation License is needed. To obtain this license, you must provide the DMR with the Shellfish Certification Number you were issued from Maine or another state. The license will NOT be issued if you do not include your certification number. All shellfish transported under this license must be procured from a licensed wholesale seafood dealer. A license authorizes these activities with only one vehicle owned, leased or rented by the license holder. A supplemental license must be obtained for each additional vehicle. The fee for a Shellfish Transportation License is $529 and the fee for a supplemental license is $75.50.

Sanitation Certificate

A Shellfish Sanitation Certificate can be issued to a wholesale seafood license holder. This certifies that proper sanitation standards for shellfish or whole scallops while buying and selling, shipping, transporting, shucking, or other processing are being followed. The fee for a Shellfish Sanitation Certificate is $50.

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