FAQ's

shellfish in mudQ. Who must apply for an Aquaculture Lease?
A. Any person who wishes to cultivate shellfish species on the underwater lands in Peconic and Gardiners Bays, which were ceded to Suffolk County by New York State under ECL §13-0302. (Exception: See oyster grant owners cultivating oysters only, below.)

Q. Who can apply for an Aquaculture Lease?
A. Any individual who is looking to develop a commercial shellfish aquaculture operation that is at least 18 years of age and can provide a federal tax ID number or social security number.

Q. Can a lease site be located anywhere in Peconic and Gardiners Bays?
A. All lease sites must be located within the Shellfish Cultivation Zone. Click either the Shellfish Cultivation Zone map or Aquaculture Lease Sites Map to view the same.

Q. Are there limits on the amount of acreage that can be applied for by an applicant?
A. New Leases can be 5 or 10 acres, but lease size may vary for oyster grants.

Q. How much does an Aquaculture Lease cost?
A.
There is a $100 application fee for initial lease applications, assignments (e.g., transfers), relocations, expansions, and subleases. The Annual Lease Rental fee is $200 plus $5 per acre (e.g., a 10-acre lease would cost $250.00/year) and $200 for private oyster grants regardless of the size of the lease overlay.

Q. Is every person who applies for a lease site location guaranteed a lease?
A.
Lease issuance is at the discretion of Suffolk County. No applicant is guaranteed a lease site location under any given application cycle. The County has an annual acreage cap of 60 acres that can be leased each year for “new” leases. If the acreage applied for exceeds the acreage available under the annual acreage cap limit, in any given year, the potential exists that not all applicants will receive a lease site location.

Q. How will the County determine who will obtain a lease if the number of applicants exceeds the acreage allocated for that year?
A.
It may be necessary to conduct a Random Selection Process to determine a priority order for processing lease applicants.

Q. What is the Random Selection Process?
A.
Click the following link for more about The Random Selection Process.

Q. How do I apply for an Aquaculture Lease?
A.
During a given application period, which is established by the SC Department of Economic Development and Planning, Division of Planning and Environment, you will need to contact the Division of Planning and Environment to schedule a pre-application meeting. Subsequent to attending that meeting you will also need to complete and submit a Lease Application, along with the $100.00 application fee, to the Division of Planning and Environment.

Q. How long will it take to get a lease?
A.
Most applications will take approximately nine months from submission to lease execution. However, if substantial environmental or other issues arise during lease application review, the application process may take a year or longer to complete.

Q. What is the duration of an Aquaculture Lease?
A.
Aquaculture leases have a term of 10 years, with an option to renew for an additional 10 years.

Q. I am the owner of an oyster grant that falls within the Shellfish Cultivation Zone but I am only interested in cultivating oysters. Do I need to participate in this program?
A.
No, oyster grant owners who wish to cultivate oysters only do not need to obtain a lease from the County.

Q. What is the difference between “active” and “fallow” oyster grants?
A.
An oyster grant will be considered “active” if the grant owner can provide documentation which shows that aquaculture activities were conducted on the grant during the period from January 1, 1999 to December 31, 2008 for species other than oysters. Without submission of such documentation, the oyster grant is considered “fallow.”

Q. I own a 30-acre fallow grant. Would I be able to apply for a lease on all 30 acres?
A.
No, as a fallow grant owner, you would only be allowed to apply for either one 20-acre lease overlay or two 10-acre leases on your 30-acre parcel.

Q. Can oyster grant owners apply for lease overlays during a regular lease application cycle?
A.
Yes, oyster grant owners will be able to apply for a lease overlay on their oyster grants during all regular application cycles.

Q. I am currently a holder of a NYSDEC-issued TMAUA in the Long Island Sound. Do I need to participate in this County program?
A.
No, only TMAUA holders who were located within Peconic Bay and/or Gardiners Bay and wished to continue cultivating shellfish were required to participate. This does not prohibit a TMAUA holder from the LI Sound from applying for a “new lease” in Peconic or Gardiners Bays.

Q. Once I obtain a lease from Suffolk County, will I still need to obtain permits from the federal and state agencies (i.e., Army Corps, NYSDEC, NYSDOS, USCG, etc.)?
A.
Yes, all leaseholders will still need to obtain all necessary regulatory permits from all relevant government agencies before any shellfish aquaculture activities can take place on the lease.