Alaska Aquaculture Permitting
Lease and permit information for commercial marine aquaculture activities
Lease and permit information for commercial marine aquaculture activities
Permits for commercial marine aquaculture activities
Site suitability is an important factor to consider when starting an aquaculture operation. Designing an aquaculture project to avoid potential use conflicts and minimize potential environmental impacts increases the efficiency of the permit process and identifies possible issues early in the process. This section contains information not only about what to avoid, but also what positive characteristics to look for in a site to optimize growth and keep your crop healthy long-term.
The following site selection and mapping tools can help identify potential overlap with existing ocean user groups and biologically important areas adjacent to or within a proposed site.
This web-based mapping tool can be used to create the maps required by state and federal applications. Some layers also provide useful siting information and we have linked to them below under the relevant agency siting requirement or recommendation. For more information about interacting with and customizing maps refer to the documents in the AOOS Mariculture Portal.
This web-based, report-centric tool provides coastal and ocean planners with a high-level analysis for their custom-drawn area of interest. It provides summary statistics and infographics for six main topics: general information, energy and minerals, natural resources and conservation, oceanographic and biophysical, transportation and infrastructure, and economics and commerce.
This online mapping tool can show the location of existing aquatic farms and other state authorizations. This information is helpful in determining areas where conflicts with other users may exist.
Planning documents used by ADNR to determine the compatibility of a project within a certain area. Will help applicants determine if aquaculture is an allowable use within a given area.
Review the Siting Considerations listed below to determine what data layers to select in siting your shellfish, invertebrate, or seaweed farm. If you would like more information on aquatic farm site selection please reach out to Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Agent Melissa Good (907-486-1517) for guidance.
Siting your farm will likely be an iterative process since there are many factors to take into consideration. This section is organized into general guidance; areas you must avoid when siting your project; and other biological and physical siting considerations for state and federal permitting.
ADNR requirements do not apply to farms sited on private tide land. However, an application must still be submitted to ADF&G and requirements still apply.
Beyond the state and federal permitting process, there will be local siting restrictions and regulations depending on your city or borough. See Talk To Your Community for tips on talking to your community—from tribal members to city government.
There is no substitute for going out and looking at potential sites yourself. Many questions about suitability can be answered by visiting an area multiple times, and talking to existing users about potential challenges and characteristics of an area.
ADF&G Local Area Offices can provide helpful information for siting your project.
During the leasing and permitting process, the state of Alaska considers many different aspects of a project to determine potential issues and use conflict. While these are not requirements, it is helpful to know what other information the state will consider when reviewing your project. Below we have broken these down into: Biological Siting Considerations, Physical Siting Considerations, Legislative Designations for Non-Farming Purposes, and Other Considerations.
These are parameters as set out by ADF&G, ADNR, and ADEC for health and safety purposes, and to minimize impacts on the environment and existing users.
The items listed below refer to questions about site suitability in the Joint State Agency Aquatic Farming Application. These areas should be avoided, or applicants should contact the managing agency to determine how to avoid significant impacts either to the species or to your farm (contact ADF&G Local Area Offices, ADEC Shellfish Program Manager, and ADNR Aquatic Farm Leasing Program Coordinator at 907-269-8543).
The state-level biological siting considerations include:
This information is best found by visiting your proposed site and talking with ADF&G Local Area Offices, an ADEC Shellfish Program Manager, or ADNR Aquatic Farm Leasing Program Coordinator (907-269-8543).
The state-level physical siting considerations include:
There are some areas in the state that have been legislatively designated for purposes other than aquatic shellfish farms. Contact the ADF&G Statewide Permit Coordinator at email@example.com for additional information. The following area(s) may not be compatible with aquatic farm development projects:
See the Refuges, Sanctuaries, Critical Habitat Areas & Wildlife Ranges list for details.
There are additional considerations for choosing species of culture for an aquatic farm. Contact the ADF&G Statewide Permit Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. Think about the following when choosing a species:
Before your permit is issued, ADEC will determine if an area is safe for the harvest and sale of shellfish. Please contact Carol Brady, Shellfish Specialist (907-269-7636, email@example.com) for more information and to receive an application. Farmers should consider the following when searching for a suitable aquatic farm site:
The following areas and conditions should be avoided when possible, or applicants should contact the USACE at 907-753-2712 to determine how best to avoid significant impacts. Consider the following best management practices to further reduce the project’s potential impacts to listed species and habitat.
Federal siting considerations include:
It is acceptable to use paper maps and hand draw the following requirements, but it is strongly recommended that you use the Mariculture Map for the General Location Map/USACE Vicinity Map, the Detailed Location Map, and the Site Plan Map/USACE Site Plan View, in order to create editable, high quality products. If you need to change any components of the maps due to application revisions, it can be done easily in the Mariculture Map.
For help creating custom maps in the Mariculture Map tool, visit the Create Custom Map Overview and Create Custom Map How-to help page. On the Mariculture Map homepage you will see default layers for making the General Location Map, the Detailed Location Map, and the Site Plan Map. You can click on these links to load the appropriate map or chart for each of the requirements listed below.
Note: While the Site Plan map link includes many relevant data layers as required by the State Joint Agency Application (see Site Plan Map Requirements below), it does not include ALL of the relevant components. Particularly examine “known existing uses,” or other gaps that may not be captured in the preloaded Mariculture Map layers. Consider contacting the ADF&G Statewide Permit Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) the ADNR Aquatic Farm Leasing Program Coordinator (907-269-8543), and USACE (907-753-2712) to ensure your map requirements are met.
USACE-specific steps are indicated in bold. Otherwise, all steps apply to both the State Joint Agency and USACE applications.
Make sure each map includes the type of map (i.e. General Location Map), project name, and name of applicant. See USACE Drawing Checklist and the State Joint Agency Application and Instructions for more guidance.
The general location map is a larger scaled map showing a larger surrounding area with less detail. Use a USGS Topographic quadrangle map (scale: 1″ = one mile (1:63,360)) and label it “Figure 1.” Show the following information:
This map is a smaller scaled map showing more detail.
Use a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) navigational chart, label it “Figure 2,” and show the following information:
Draw an overhead view of the farm area parcel(s) and surrounding area. Label it “Figure 3” and show the following information:
Provide cross-sectional diagram(s) of all support facilities, equipment, and gear, showing their placement and anchoring systems. More than one diagram may be required. Label it “Figure 4” (and so on) and show the following:
Provide detailed drawing(s) of all support facilities, equipment, and gear. Note that more than one diagram may be required. Label and show the following: