A complete description of all aspects of the Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Program in Peconic Bay and Gardiners Bay is contained in the Lease Program Management Plan document, which was prepared under Capital Project No. 7180.110 by the Suffolk County Department of Planning and its environmental consultant - Cashin Associates, P.C. - with extensive input from the Suffolk County Department of Law on the required local law; and assistance from the Division of Real Estate, Suffolk County Department of Environment and Energy, on underwater land survey requirements and title searches. The planning and environmental review process that led to the development of this lease program was guided by the energetic participation of the County Executive's Aquaculture Lease Program Advisory Committee (ALPAC), which included representatives from local government, the commercial fishing industry, shellfish farmers, research institutions, regulatory agencies and environmental interests.
After a rigorous four year development process, 21 ALPAC meetings and two public hearings, Local Law 25-2009 adopted the Suffolk County Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Program in Peconic Bay and Gardiners Bay. The lease program incorporates the activities of existing aquaculturists operating under the purview of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation while accommodating new entrants into the system. In addition to addressing the access needs of existing shellfish aquaculture businesses, the lease program will accommodate growth in the industry. Leases for new shellfish farms will consist of 5- or 10-acre parcels. New shellfish aquaculture leases will be limited to a total of 60 additional acres per year, for a maximum of 300 acres during the first five years of the program, and a total of 600 acres by the tenth year of program implementation. The Shellfish Cultivation Zone map shows the area within which shellfish leases can be issued and meets all criteria in the 2004 Leasing Law. The program also provides municipalities, researchers, and not-for-profit entities with the opportunity to obtain non-commercial shellfish cultivation leases for experimental, educational, and shellfish resource restoration purposes.
Shellfish Cultivation Zone Review
The County is required by NYS Environmental Conservation Law §13-0302 and Local Law 25-2009, to conduct a five year administrative review of the Shellfish Cultivation Zone. As a part of this review, the County issued a 45-day Public Notice in February 2014 and requested written comments on the Shellfish Cultivation Zone (Shellfish Cultivation Zone Review Public Notice & Distribution List).
During this public comment period the County received two comments; neither made any objections or requested changes to the Shellfish Cultivation Zone. The first comment received was from the Town of Huntington Department of Planning and Environment, which stated that they had no comment. Lease Application Cycle #1 Leaseholder Michael Craig of East End Oysters, submitted the second comment in which he offered his support and appreciation for the County’s Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Program.
As discussed in the letter to County Executive Bellone (Shellfish Cultivation Zone Five-Year Review and Determination), the County has determined that no changes will be made to the Shellfish Cultivation Zone at this time, but will instead focus on the mandatory 10-year review of the Shellfish Cultivation Zone and make adjustments and revisions at that time.
Below is a complete inventory of all notices, meetings, agendas, meeting summaries and other information, which were integral in the development of the Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Program.