Notice to future shellfish farmers

The Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning will hold an information meeting for potential applicants interested in applying for a lease under the county’s Shell Rental Scheme in Peconic Bay and Gardiner’s Bay on February 3 at 6 p.m. h.

The meeting will take place via Zoom, with participants able to listen in or join. Registration for the meeting is mandatory at Questions can be directed to Susan Filipowich at 631-853-4775.

The meeting will focus on those interested in applying for a shellfish aquaculture lease as part of the 2022 lease application cycle. Ministry staff will provide an overview of the process and revised program requirements.

Since all Suffolk tenants are required to obtain permits from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation before commencing any aquaculture activity, DEC Marine Resources Division staff will participate in the meeting and review state regulatory requirements and permits.

Under the scheme, known as SCALP, up to six new 10-acre plots are leased per year. The Suffolk legislature gave unanimous approval to extend it last year after concluding the scheme’s first ten-year review. In response to complaints from boaters, lawmakers passed new cultivation zones and created a lease review committee that includes a representative from each of the five East End towns.

The scheme proved controversial in the East End, with shellfish farmers and yacht clubs disagreeing over the use of Peconic and Gardiner bays. Clubs complained about floating oyster gear, saying it was a hazard to shipping. However, some shellfish farmers claim that hanging gear high in the water greatly increases productivity.

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