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New aquaculture rules expand limit on lease area

MAINE - The Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has made life a little easier for Maine aquaculture entrepreneurs.

Last week, the state’s DMR Advisory Council approved a regulation that more than triples the total area that a single individual or entity may lease in state water to use for aquaculture. The change was authorized by the Legislature last year.

Under the prior regulations, the aggregate aquaculture lease area that an individual or entity could hold was 300 acres. Now the limit is 1,000 acres.

The change reflects legislation that gave the DMR commissioner authority to require fish farmers to submit annual plans for fallowing a part of their lease area. To meet the fallowing requirement, the lease site would have to be kept free of cultured marine organisms of any kind for a specified period of time.

In the same statute, the Legislature increased the maximum aggregate leasehold from 300 to 500 acres. It also gave the DMR commissioner authority to expand that area by regulation up to 1,500 acres if he determined that such an increase was “beneficial for the management of aquaculture and environmentally and economically appropriate.”

Source: The Ellsworth American

the Fish Site Editor

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