Division of Marine Fisheries reminds aquaculture operators that permits are required

Ken Styron tends to his oyster farm off Cedar Island. [photo courtesy Baxter Miller]

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is reminding anyone conducting or interested in aquaculture operations that permits are required for different activities, and they are available at no cost.

Conducting aquaculture operations without the proper permits will result in a citation and could shut down the aquaculture operation. Failure to comply with all permit conditions will also result in suspension or revocation of the permit.

The type of permit required is determined by the specific type of aquaculture operations.

One of the two following permits are required to begin any aquaculture activities:

Aquaculture Operations Permit (AOP) РAllows for the propagation of marine or estuarine resources from permitted sources for rearing in a controlled environment, while protecting the state’s natural resources from disease, gene mixing, and over competition; and

Under Dock Oyster Culture Permit (UDOC) – Allows a dock owner to attach oyster cultivation containers under his dock, following specific permit conditions, to grow oysters for personal consumption.

Additional permits that may be required for specific aquaculture activities are:

  • Aquaculture Collections Permit (ACP)
  • Aquaculture Seed Transfer Permit (ASTP)
  • Introduction and Transfer Permit (INTRO)
  • Mechanical Methods/Harvest Permit (Mech)
  • Polluted Area Relay Permit (Relay)
  • Seed Oyster Management Area Relay Permit (SOMA)
  • Shellfish Lease Restoration Permit (SLRP)

Renewal packages for existing permits are sent out annually and include the application, permit conditions, and educational materials.

For questions or more information about aquaculture permitting in North Carolina, please visit the aquaculture permit webpage https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/marine-fisheries/licenses-permits-and-leases/aquaculture-permits and/or contact the Aquaculture Permit Coordinator Zach Harrison at 252-808-8056 or Zach.Harrison@ncdenr.gov.