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Bureau of Aquaculture

Shellfish Grounds Leasing Opportunities

View grounds currently open for bidding:  New Shellfish Bed Lease Opportunities

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.

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture leases submerged lands in Long Island Sound for the purpose of planting, cultivating, and harvesting shellfish, in accordance with the provisions of Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 491, State Shellfisheries.

The Department of Agriculture has been reviewing the old lease format, identifying deficient language in the lease language currently employed based on recent experience, and drafting new language to meet current legal sufficiency requirements.  As a result of this process, a new lease form was drafted with language that ensures shellfish leases meet the general legal requirements for state contracting, including applicable executive orders, and the specific requirements of Chapter 491. 

The Department's new shellfish lease format was approved by the Office of the Attorney General in June pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec 26-194(a), and all new and any renewed state shellfish leases effective June, 2014 are required to adhere to the updated language.