MDE Drops Application, Impact Fees for Oyster Aquaculture

The Maryland Department of the Environment has eliminated permit application and impact fees for commercial oyster aquaculture.

The fees seemed to be in conflict with Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan, which aims to encourage and increase aquaculture in the state. Under the fee system, anyone applying for a commercial oyster aquaculture permit would have had to pay $1,500 and could have been required to pay an impact fee of up to $7,500 per acre, said Jay Apperson, MDE spokesman.

Apperson said the department never applied that $7,500-per-acre fee to oyster aquaculture projects, but the possibility of having to pay tens of thousands of dollars discouraged at least one Maryland family.

Raymond Combs told a Senate committee he and his family had been trying to get an aquaculture permit for three years, but were stopped short when they learned they could have to pay up to $90,000 in application and impact fees. Combs' son, Raymond Combs Jr., said it would have taken the business four to six years to break even because of those fees.

For more information about the MDE's decision to eliminate the fees, visit

By Capital News Service's Jennifer Hlad.