The Division of Fish and Wildlife makes acreage in the Inland Bays available for leases for shellfish aquaculture.
Leases are available for lands within defined Shellfish Aquaculture Development Areas (SADA), which have expedited state and federal permitting processes, and outside of these areas.
For leases outside of the SADAs, applicants will need to contact and apply for proper permitting through DNREC’s Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands Section and with the Philadelphia District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
More information on the history of the leasing program, the planting and harvest of shellfish in the Inland Bays, and a survey of program participants is available in the 2019 Delaware Inland Bays Shellfish Aquaculture Report.
Applications for leases for available acreage will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Please read the instructions and refer to the Interactive Shellfish Aquaculture Development Area Map, which is updated with available acreage. The application fee is $300.
Shellfish Import Form (Please download this form in order to apply an e-signature)
In addition to the application forms, applicants will need to submit a Business Plan and Operations Plan as outlined on the application form.
Those interested in operating an Inland Bays’ shellfish nursery outside of acres leased for Delaware shellfish aquaculture must submit a Shellfish Aquaculture Nursery Operation Application and a Shellfish Import Form (if applicable).
Nurseries outside of acreage leased for shellfish aquaculture also require permits from DNREC’s Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands Section.
Delaware Sea Grant maintains a directory of Delaware seafood suppliers providing sustainably fished and farmed seafood options. The list is organized by species and provider.