Shellfish Aquaculture

The Division of Fish and Wildlife makes acreage in the Inland Bays available for leases for shellfish aquaculture.

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Zina Hense
Environmental Scientist
Regulations Questions and Answers Import Policy

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 Waterways 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 surveys of program participants, are available in the annual reports:

Lease Applications

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 Aquaculture Application, SADA

Shellfish Aquaculture Application, Non-SADA

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.

Shellfish Nursery Permitting

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 Seafood Suppliers

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.