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Aquaculture Shellfish Regulations
1. Shellfish aquaculture licenses may be awarded to Provincetown residents who can show to the satisfaction of the Board of Selectmen that they are a bona fide domiciled resident of the Town of Provincetown. Aquaculture licenses shall be issued only to individuals, not to corporations.

2. Applicants desiring an aquaculture license shall be required to complete and submit all information required on the Town's approved application form. The applicant shall provide the exact location of the site in the form of GPS numbers designating the corners.

3. Aquaculture license applications shall be considered on a first-come, first-served basis within the limitations of acceptable and available areas. The Shellfish Committee and Shellfish Constable shall make recommendations to the Board of Selectmen on those areas. The Board of Selectmen may issue a moratorium on aquaculture license approvals at any time this action is deemed appropriate and in the best interests of the Town. A waiting list shall be established when the Town runs out of available acreage.

4. Approval of any and all shellfish aquaculture licenses shall be subject to all State and Local laws and/or pertinent rules and regulations. Applicants are expected to be familiar with said relevant laws and regulations.

5. Applications shall be sent to the Town Clerk registered mail with return receipt requested or may be submitted in person to the Town Clerk, who shall generate a receipt of the application.

6. Aquaculture licenses approved shall be contingent on certification by the State's Division of Marine Fisheries, in compliance with Chapter 130 of the Massachusetts General Laws, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers.

7. First-time aquaculture license applications shall be approved for a two (2) year period. Subsequent aquaculture license renewals may be made for five (5) year periods. Renewals shall be subject to approval by the Board of Selectmen, with recommendations from the Shellfish Committee and Shellfish Department. Each aquaculture license shall be reviewed annually by the Shellfish Committee and Shellfish Constable.

8. An annual aquaculture license fee of $25 per acre shall be paid by the aquaculture license holder payable on or before April 1 of each year. If the fee is not paid within six (6) months after it becomes due, the aquaculture license shall be forfeited.

9. The Selectmen may allow a transfer to any person to whom they might ordinarily issue a shellfish License upon written application to the board. Such application shall be made in written form and reviewed in a public hearing. A transfer conveys the ability to plant and grow shellfish in the same way as an original license.

10. It shall be unlawful for the aquaculture license holder to take seed shellfish from any waterways of the Town without written permission from the Board of Selectmen.

11. It shall be unlawful for any aquaculture license holder to transfer to or from the aquaculture license area any shellfish without a state propagation permit. This permit is required annually regardless of activity.

12. Aquaculture license holders shall notify the Shellfish Department prior to planting any shellfish. The Shellfish Constable may remove from the intertidal zone or aquaculture development area any shellfish for which the Town has no bill of sale, or other proof of origin. The responsibility for proving that all shellfish comes from a certified hatchery or other point of origin rests solely with the aquaculture license holder.

13. The Town of Provincetown reserves the right to obtain samples of any shellfish from aquaculture license areas for the purpose of certified testing for disease.

14. Within a reasonable amount of time, the Shellfish Constable and Shellfish Committee shall review the aquaculture license production report submitted by the aquaculture license holder on or before December 15 of each year as prescribed by Massachusetts General Law Ch. 130, § 65. The aquaculture license holder shall produce documents upon the request of the Shellfish Committee, showing shellfish purchase and receipts of sale.

15.The Shellfish Constable shall have the authority to inspect the aquaculture license area, including the contents of all boxes or other containers at any time.

16. Should any Town dredging operations temporarily make an aquaculture license area unsuitable for planting, or maintaining shellfish, immediate and temporary, permission to relocate the aquaculture license holder's stock shall be reviewed by the Selectmen. In the event that shellfish need to be relocated under these conditions, they shall be relocated at the aquaculture license holder's expense. The Town is not liable for any loss of shellfish.

17. All shellfish nursery boxes shall be indelibly marked with the aquaculture license number. The aquaculture license holder shall assume liability for all boxes, racks, spat- collection devices and other shellfish equipment used in shellfish farming. If any such items are moved by a storm or other event to a location off of the aquaculture license site it shall be the responsibility of the aquaculture license holder to remove it.
If within three (3) weeks the aquaculture license holder has not complied with this requirement, the Town, through the Shellfish Department, may cause such boxes, racks, and other shellfish equipment to be removed and may bill the aquaculture license holder.
When an aquaculture license is discontinued or terminated for any reason, the aquaculture license holder shall be required to remove all boxes, racks, pens, and all other shellfish equipment from the waters and substratum within thirty (30) days of the aquaculture license expiration/termination date. The Town, through the Shellfish Constable at the aquaculture license holder’s expense, may recover any and all equipment not removed within thirty (30) days.

18. The aquaculture license holder shall be required to hold State permits to handle seed and propagate shellfish in compliance with Massachusetts General Law Chapter 130. The aquaculture license holder shall be required to comply with all rules and regulations governing shellfish aquaculture licenses as set forth by the Town of Provincetown and M.G.L. Chapter 130, Sections 57 through 68A and M.G.L. Chapter 131, Section 40. Failure to comply with the aforementioned laws and regulations shall be deemed cause to revoke the Town and State aquaculture license permits.

19. The "Town" and "State" aquaculture license permits may be subject to review and/or approval of the following governing bodies: The Board of Selectmen, the Shellfish Constable, the Shellfish Committee, Conservation Commission, and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries as well as the Army Corps of Engineers.
A. The Board of Selectmen shall hold a public hearing and either approve or deny the aquaculture license application. The Shellfish Constable and the Shellfish Committee, prior to the public hearing, shall review the aquaculture license application and their comments passed along to the Board of Selectmen.
B. If the aquaculture license is approved, the Board of Selectmen shall issue an aquaculture license agreement in accordance with established regulations.
C. The Shellfish Constable shall make an inspection of the aquaculture license area with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries who shall prepare a written report on the standing shellfish within the aquaculture license area.
D. The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries will review the aquaculture license application, survey the proposed aquaculture license location, and may certify that the aquaculture license and operation thereon would cause no substantial adverse effect on the natural shellfish resources of the Town, in compliance with M.G.L. Chapter 130, Section 57.

20. The Shellfish Committee will set an application period every year. Following receipt of an acceptable and complete aquaculture license application, the Board of Selectmen shall establish a public hearing date. At least 15 days prior to the hearing, the Selectmen shall publish a legal notice twice before the hearing in a newspaper with local distribution. In addition, a hearing notice shall be posted at the Town Hall.

21. Aquaculture license holders shall be responsible for affixing to the four (4) corners of their aquaculture license, yellow buoys not less than 20 inches in circumference, marked with black letters with the words, "Private Shellfish Aquaculture License No. " with the letters being at least 2 inches high. For sites within the Aquaculture Development Area, the town corner markers for the area shall serve this purpose and it is not required for individuals to mark their sites.

22. Should boundary disputes arise among aquaculture license holders, they shall first take their dispute to the Shellfish Constable and Shellfish Committee for resolution. Should this prove unacceptable, the Board of Selectmen may require an engineered survey of the aquaculture licenses in question. Such a survey would be performed at the aquaculture license holder's expense.

23. No persons other than the aquaculture license holder or an abutting aquaculture license holder may moor or anchor a boat within twenty-five (25) feet, at rest, of an aquaculture license.

24. Inasmuch as this ADA lays within a critical habitat area for marine mammals, all floating gear which is affixed to the bottom shall be equivalent to the provisions and requirements of the Large Whale Take Reduction Team. This shall include marker buoys and their attachment lines as well as floating gear and messenger buoys.

25. For sites within the Aquaculture Development Area all license holders shall adhere to the special conditions set forth by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. These conditions are subject to change and it is the license holder’s responsibility to remain up-to-date with current conditions.

26. For sites within the Aquaculture Development Area, a singe marker buoy may be left in place during the winter months so equipment can be retrieved in the spring.

27. Licenses shall not be sublet. Employees of the license holder may be permitted to conduct aquaculture operations with the permission of the Shellfish Constable. It shall be the responsibility of the license holder that all persons actively engaged in the operation of the license site be compliant with all state and local regulations and licenses concerning the handling of shellfish.

28. Fees:

A. A fifteen dollar ($15.00) application fee for the application and public hearing shall be payable at the time of submitting the Aquaculture License application form.

B. An, annual permit fee of twenty-five dollars, ($25.00) per acre, or any part thereof, is payable at the time of Aquaculture License approval, and then on April 1 of each year.

29. Every Aquaculture License holder shall pay to the town, all fees, have an annual propagation permit from DMF and file a yearly activity report. If these requirements are not met the Board of Selectmen may hold a hearing as to ascertain the facts of non-compliance and determine if the license shall be revoked.

Amended October 10, 2017


Town of Provincetown
260 Commercial Street
Provincetown, MA 02657
Ph: (508) 487-7000
Fx: (508) 487-9560