DMR IMAGE On May 26, an experimental lease was approved for a 3.4-acre site in Frenchman Bay north of Thomas Island to Mussel Bound Farms for mussel spat/seed production.

ME - Hearings for aquaculture leases are still on hold: Mussel Bound lease approved

With the recent growth of the aquaculture industry in the state, the Department of Marine Resources had a backlog of aquaculture lease applications even before the pandemic put a hold on the public hearings that are required for most applications.

“The majority of the aquaculture program’s work is being conducted as usual, albeit remotely,” spokesperson Jeff Nichols said last week. “Applications are still being reviewed for completeness, pre-application meetings are being held remotely, site reports are being written, public notices are being processed, and lease and license decisions, where we are able, are being written.”

But scoping sessions and public hearings were postponed and field work was suspended in mid-March, Nichols said.

“Beginning April 30, field work that allows for staff to remain socially distant resumed. Scoping sessions and public hearings remain on hold.

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