The Suffolk County Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Program in Peconic Bay and Gardiners Bay (Lease Program) was formally established by the Suffolk County Legislature in August 2009. Leases from Suffolk County are required for the conduct of any type of shellfish cultivation in Peconic Bay and Gardiners Bay (excluding private oyster grant owners that cultivate oysters only). The first Lease Application Cycle was implemented in January 2010; and over the first ten years (Phase I) of the Lease Program, the Division of Planning and Environment in the Department of Economic Development and Planning (Department) conducted a total of nine lease application cycles.
As a result of the County mandated review of the Lease Program (Ten Year Review Project), the County adopted a new Annual Acreage Cap Limit for the second ten years of the Lease Program, also known as Phase II. During Phase II, a total of 600 acres will be made available for lease, which will result in the lease of 60 acres per year (or six 10-acre leases).
The Department expects to conduct one lease application cycle per year for new shellfish aquaculture leases subject to the Annual Acreage Cap Limit. The Annual Lease Application Cycle shall start at the beginning of January of each New Year. Depending on how many eligible applicants apply during a given Lease Application Cycle, not all applicants may obtain a lease. For those applicants that move forward in the lease application process, the County estimates that it will take approximately 12 months to complete that entire process and obtain a Shellfish Aquaculture Lease. Please note that any unforeseen issues that may arise during this process may delay the lease execution process.
Prior to submitting a lease application, prospective lease applicants must schedule and attend a pre-application meeting with Department staff during the established application period. During this meeting, applicants should be prepared to discuss potential lease areas/sites of interest, their shellfish cultivation plan and business plan or initial concepts for each. Applicants will also be asked about their shellfish aquaculture experience and/or verification that they meet the eligibility requirements outlined in Section 3.1 of the Revised Administrative Guidance document. Subsequent to the pre-application meeting, completed lease applications shall be mailed to the Department, along with the required application fee during the application period established by the Department.
In order to be considered complete, lease applications must be completed in their entirety and must include a shellfish cultivation plan and business plan; each of which should address the information outlined in Appendix C and D in the Revised Administrative Guidance document, respectively. Depending on the type of entity a lease is applied for under, additional information and documentation may be required. Lease applicants that do not meet the eligibility requirements or that are missing required information shall not be accepted and will be returned. For further details please click HERE to access the Revised Administrative Guidance.
Please be advised, applicants that are approved to receive a Shellfish Aquaculture Lease with the County must also obtain all required regulatory permits and/or licenses from the respective regulatory agencies prior to conducting any shellfish cultivation activities on their lease area.
Applications for a Lease Site Relocation, a Lease on a Private Oyster Grant and applications for a Second Lease Site shall be processed along with applications for new lease acreage during the Annual Lease Application Cycle.
Applications for Lease Assignment, Lease Renewal and Lease Termination shall be accepted and processed at the discretion of the County.
For more information on each of the applications discussed above or to view the application, please go to the Application and Forms page of this website.