On Monday, the Maine Legislature holds public hearings on bills promising big changes to Maine's aquaculture laws. Links to the bills below and at the Marine Resources Committee webpage http://legislature.maine.gov/audio/#206 (scroll down to Monday)
LD 1502, An Act To Transfer Responsibility for Licensing of Land-based Aquaculture from the Department of Marine Resources to the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Official summary "This bill transfers authority for the licensing of land-based aquaculture from the Department of Marine Resources to the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry."
LD 1519, An Act To Define the Intertidal Zone for the Management and Enforcement of Shellfish Conservation Ordinances
Official Summary:"This bill amends the law regarding municipal shellfish conservation programs to clarify that the intertidal zone extends from the high-water mark to the extreme low-water mark and that the shellfish conservation ordinances apply only within the intertidal zones of municipalities."
Official Summary "This bill creates an aquaculture license that exempts the holder from certain requirements in law to hold a separate license for the removal, possession, transport or sale of cultured marine organisms and authorizes the holder to remove, possess, transport or sell cultured marine organisms."
Official summary "This bill amends the aquaculture leasing and licensing laws. It removes the prohibition on the provision by the Department of Marine Resources of promotional and marketing assistance to the aquaculture industry. It extends the potential term of an aquaculture lease from 10 to 20 years. It changes the order of preference for lease applications to include in the 2nd position an individual who currently holds a limited-purpose aquaculture license for the area. It provides a process by which a holder of a standard lease could seek an expansion of the lease area by up to 10% once during the duration of the lease without having to apply for a new lease. It places the licensed activities and criteria for limited-purpose aquaculture licenses in separate statutory provisions. It requires a limited-purpose aquaculture license holder to specify if the license is for commercial or personal use and to identify the growing area and current classification of the area. It adds consideration of any risk to public health to the criteria used in determining whether to grant a limited-purpose aquaculture license. It adds to the eligibility criteria for a limited-purpose aquaculture license the completion of any educational courses that may be required by the Commissioner of Marine Resources."