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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 Harvest License

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

An Aquaculture Harvest License cost $133.

  1. Sell your own harvested product in the “retail trade” either off your lease site (the sale of aquacultured shellfish is not permitted on LPA sites) or from your home (i.e. to the final consumer).
  2. Sell your own harvested product to a certified Wholesale License holder. (Wholesale license could be with or without lobsters but must have Shellfish Sanitation Certification).
  3. Sell your own harvested product to a Retail License holder WITH an Enhanced Retail Certificate.

You can print and fill out this form or use the DMR's online licensing and landings system, called LEEDS (Licensing Enforcement and Environmental Data System). You can use this to apply for a new license or renew a license.

You should contact the DMR Aquaculture Division at D[email protected] or call the Licensing Division at 207-624-6550.

Farm or Home Sales

The sale of farmed shellfish is not permitted on LPA license sites. You can sell your aquacultured shellfish directly from an experimental or standard lease provided you adhere to the following:

  • Sales are for retail only.
  • The 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 your aquacultured shellfish directly from your home in the retail trade. The sales must be to the final consumer (not for resale), 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. In Maine DMR Bureau of Public Health Vibrio areas, home sales are not allowed during the control months (more information on Vibrio areas here).

Wholesale Seafood License (with or without Lobster)

The Maine DMR Bureau of Pubic Health.

  1. Anyone who wants to sell their aquacultured or wild harvested shellfish to a restaurant that only has a retail license, at a farmers’ market, to a reshipper, or beyond the Maine state limits.
  2. Anyone who wants to sell their shellfish in the retail trade (including roadside), other than their home or lease site.

Regarding shellfish, the holder of a Wholesale Seafood License may, in the wholesale or retail trade, buy, sell, shuck, pack, or ship fresh or frozen shellfish within or beyond the state limits. It also allows the license holder to transport fresh or frozen shellfish within the Maine state limits. Additionally, all these activities need to be authorized by a specific Shellfish Sanitation Certificate. When buying directly from a harvester, a holder of a Wholesale Seafood License may only buy from a harvester who possesses the license or permit for that species. The harvester must make the applicable marine resources license or permit available for inspection upon the Wholesale Seafood License holder’s request. A Wholesale Seafood License authorizes activities at only one establishment (facility) or only one vehicle. If you have more than one you will need a Wholesale Seafood License Supplemental.

If you have to license more than one facility/vehicle, yes you need a Supplemental License. For example; if your facility is licensed under Wholesale Seafood License then your vehicle will need a supplemental license. Each additional facility and/or vehicle will need a Supplemental License.

The license itself costs $443 and there is a fee of $87 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.

You can print and fill out this form or use the DMR's online licensing and landings system, called LEEDS (Licensing Enforcement and Environmental Data System). You can use this to apply for a new license or renew a license.

James Becker (phone preferred): 207-592-8934 ([email protected])

Melinda Cook (Kennebec River to Penobscot River): 207-557-3558 ([email protected])

Richard Riddell (Penobscot River to Calais): 207-667-5654 ([email protected])

Shellfish Sanitation Certificates

The Maine DMR Bureau of Pubic Health.

  1. Anyone who wants to sell their shellfish to a restaurant that does not have an Enhanced Retail License.
  2. Anyone that wants to sell their shellfish at a farmers’ market, grocery store, fish market, and local general store, any retail entity, or from any location other than your home or lease site.
  3. Anyone who wants to sell their shellfish out of state.

A Shellfish Sanitation Certificate can be issued to a Wholesale Seafood License holder or a Shellfish Transportation License holder and allows the License holder to undertake the following activities: buying and selling, shipping, transporting, shucking, or other processing of shellfish or whole scallops. Obtaining a Shellfish Sanitation Certificate allows the word “certified” to go before the license name, i.e., certified Wholesale dealer. In addition to following the Shellfish Sanitation Certificate guidelines, you need to submit and implement a HACCP plan that is in compliance with the Model Ordinance. There are different types of Shellfish Sanitation Certificates: Shellstock Shipper Certificate ($50 fee), Shucker-Packer Certificate ($50 fee), Shellfish Reshipper Certificate ($50 fee), and Depuration Processor Certificate ($200 fee).

The Shellstock Shipper (SS) Certificate is the most common certificate for aquaculturists to obtain. The holder of a Shellstock Shipper Certificate may grow, harvest, purchase, store, sell, pack, ship, and transport shellstock (whole live shellfish) in state and beyond state limits. A Shellstock Shipper Certificate holder may purchase and sell shucked shellfish obtained from a Shucker-Packer (SP) Certificate holder but must not shuck shellfish or repack shucked shellfish. A Shellstock Shipper must have a facility for proper storage and packing or repacking of shellstock, including a means of refrigerated storage of shellfish, i.e., a walk-in cooler.

Cost: $50

The holder of a Shucker-Packer (SP) Certificate may grow, harvest, pack, purchase, sell, store, hold, ship, or transport shellfish, whether in shellstock or shucked form. A Shucker-Packer may shuck shellfish and repack shucked shellfish obtained from other certificate holders.

Cost: $50

The holder of a Reshipper (RS) Certificate may sell, ship or transport shucked shellfish or shellstock packed in their original containers, which have been purchased from certified Wholesale dealers to other certified dealers, retailers, or to final consumers. A Reshipper shall not shuck, repack, hold or store shucked shellfish or shellstock for sale, shipment, or transport. A Reshipper may not harvest shellfish or buy from harvesters.

Cost: $50

The holder of a Depuration Processor (DP) Certificate may cleanse shellfish harvested from approved, conditionally approved, restricted or conditionally restricted areas, using a physical plant and processing methods which are approved by the Commissioner, and which comply with the requirements set forth in the Model Ordinance. The holder of a Depuration Processor Certificate may purchase, receive or harvest shellstock from areas classified as approved, conditionally approved, restricted or conditionally restricted and submit such shellstock to an approved depuration process. The depuration processor may pack, sell, ship, or transport the depurated shellstock. A Depuration Processor shall have a facility, including a means of refrigerated storage of shellfish, such as a walk - in cooler.

Cost: $200

You can print and fill out this form or use the DMR's online licensing and landings system, called LEEDS (Licensing Enforcement and Environmental Data System). You can use this to apply for a new license or renew a license.

James Becker (phone preferred): 207-592-8934 ([email protected])

Melinda Cook (Kennebec River to Penobscot River): 207-557-3558 ([email protected])

Richard Riddell (Penobscot River to Calais): 207-667-5654 ([email protected])

Certified Wholesale Shellfish Dealer

A certified Wholesale Shellfish Dealer, commonly referred to as a certified dealer, is one who holds a Wholesale Seafood License, with or w/o Lobster, plus has been inspected and certified with a Shellstock Shipper Certificate (SS), Shucker-Packer Certificate (SP), Depuration Processor Certificate (DP), or Shellfish Reshipper Certificate (RS) to allow them to purchase shellfish from a harvester, aquaculturist, or from another certified Shellfish Dealer and sell it in the retail trade.

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

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.

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 Retail License is for an establishment that sells at a retail level only and does not include wholesale sales. If the restaurant is buying directly from the aquaculturist, the Enhanced Retail License holder must also possess a Primary Buyers Permit (reporting required). The Enhanced Retail also allows the restaurant to then sell the now certified whole shellfish purchased from the aquaculturist in the retail trade in-state only (i.e. to the final consumer). 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.

The Maine DMR has a list that contains the names and addresses of markets and restaurants that are licensed to purchase shellfish directly from harvesters, then sell them in the retail trade only.

Shellfish Transportation License

A Shellfish Transportation License is needed.

The holder of a Shellfish Transportation License may buy certified shellfish and transport them beyond the state limits, to the extent these activities are expressly authorized by a shellfish certificate or its equivalent from another state. All shellfish transported under this license must be procured from a certified Wholesale Seafood licensee. A Shellfish Transportation License authorizes these activities with only one vehicle owned, leased, or rented by the license holder. You need a Supplemental License for each additional vehicle.

The fee for a Shellfish Transportation License is $529.

If you are using more than one vehicle to transport shellfish, yes, you need a Supplemental License. The fee for a Supplemental License is $173 for each additional vehicle.

You can print and fill out this form or use the DMR's online licensing and landings system, called LEEDS (Licensing Enforcement and Environmental Data System). You can use this to apply for a new license or renew a license.

James Becker (phone preferred): 207-592-8934 ([email protected])

Selling Licenses & Certifications Resources