Bureau of Aquaculture
Leasing Shellfish Grounds
This program permits shellfish farmers to obtain underwater lands in Long Island Sound for the purpose of planting, cultivating, and harvesting shellfish crops. All applications to lease grounds must be approved by the Commissioner of Agriculture.
The Department of Agriculture leases shellfish grounds through competitive bids. C.G.S 26-194 specifies a minimum bid of $4.00/acre. There are more than 70,000 acres farmed by the industry, approximately 12,000 acres of which are leased by local shellfish commissions. A lease is granted for a 3-10 year term with renewal option, provided the lessee has paid rental fees. Leases will be granted by the Commissioner of Agriculture to the highest responsible bidder.
All bids must be accompanied by a check, payable to the Commissioner of Agriculture, for one year's rental fee. If an applicant is not the highest bidder the application fee and the one year rental fee will be returned. The successful bidder pays the costs of the Application fee, a year's rental fee in advance, $35.00 per corner to cover surveying cost, any poles, buoys, buoy stones, floats, and rope used in connection with the surveying of the lease, and the legal notice fee - $100.00 (more or less). (Materials may be furnished by the Department and billed to the lessee.)
There is a 50 acre minimum and 200 acre maximum per bid. It is the policy of the Department of Agriculture that lease be square or rectangular in shape.
Notice of the application is advertised by the Commissioner of Agriculture for one day in a newspaper having a daily circulation in the town or city where the oyster grounds are located and on the Department of Agriculture's website. Advertisements must appear at least ten days before the date set for the bid opening. It is the policy of the Department of Agriculture that all new leases are posted to the DOA website on or before the 15th of the month with the bid opening the first week of the following month.
To see if there are any grounds currently open to the bid process, see New Shellfish Bed Lease Opportunities.