Inventory of state submerged lands leasing programs in the Gulf of Mexico Publications

Inventory of state submerged lands leasing programs in the Gulf of Mexico

Brochures/Fact Sheets : Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

Off-bottom oyster farming occurs on state-owned submerged lands (SSL) and, as such, authorization to occupy those lands is required from the state. In general, this authorization takes the form of a lease, although the terminology varies among the Gulf states. Through this leasing process, the state grants the oyster farmer the right to use the submerged lands and the water column for a limited period of time in exchange for some sort of payment.


As a first step towards assessing the feasibility of using ecosystem services valuation to offset regulatory fees associated with oyster aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program, in collaboration with the Louisiana Sea Grant Law & Policy Program, researched the submerged lands leasing program in each of the five Gulf states. For each state, the legal team identified the responsible agency, the application process, and general regulatory framework. In addition to summarizing the leasing program in each state, the legal team identified the base annual fees (as set forth in law or regulation), when an agency may deviate from that base fee, and the method used in calculating such fees when available.