Document provides inventory of shellfish restoration policies

By: Stephanie Otts / Published: Feb 05,  2015

Shellfish restoration is a priority for many organizations in the Gulf of Mexico and around the country. It can be challenging for researchers conducting scientific research and organizations implementing shoreline and habitat restoration projects to navigate the permitting requirements and policies of each state.

The Nature Conservancy recently provided the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program with funding to research the regulatory framework governing shellfish restoration projects in 21 coastal states. The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program, in collaboration with the National Sea Grant Law Center, conducted extensive legal research to identify the responsible agencies, the application process and the general regulatory framework.

In addition, the legal team summarized oyster harvesting requirements, tools for protecting shellfish reefs and restoration projects, and state mitigation policies that incorporate shellfish. At the request of The Nature Conservancy, information was also collected on existing restoration efforts through personal interviews with state agency personnel.

Niki Pace, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program, served as project lead on this report. Other members of the legal team included Terra Bowling and Catherine Janasie, of the National Sea Grant Law Center, and me. Additional support was provided by Christopher Boyd, Ph.D., of Troy University.

This report covers 21 coastal states of interest as identified by The Nature Conservancy: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. The team did not review the policies of Alaska, Hawaii, Pennsylvania and the Great Lakes states.

The report is available at


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