regulations may constrain mariculture development, others can serve to advance its growth. Some states have developed effective practices for interagency coordination, technical assistance, sponsorship of research and development efforts, marketing assistance, and other forms of industry promotion (Jarvinen, 2000; Jarvinen and Magnusson, 2000).


As traditionally practiced in the United States, bivalve mariculture relies heavily on nearshore waters that are under state or town jurisdiction. These nearshore locations may be particularly conducive to bivalve growth because of high-planktonic food levels and suitable temperature, and they provide ready access—often without the need for a boat—for stock management and harvesting. They also expose the mariculture operations to extensive use conflicts because the nearshore waters of the United States are heavily used for recreational and aesthetic purposes. The legal regime governing U.S. coastal waters gives jurisdiction over these areas to individual states, with complex and sometimes inconsistent results.

Following Duff et al. (2003), the committee summarizes the main types of policies and regulations that govern bivalve mariculture, focusing on the following areas:

  • leasing and tenure policies

  • jurisdictional complexity

  • land use, zoning, and tax policies

  • interstate transport policies

  • offshore mariculture policy

Leasing and Tenure Policies

Nearshore mariculture operations usually are sited on or in “public trust” resources (i.e., state intertidal and subtidal lands and state waters). Under the public trust doctrine, certain tidelands, coastal waters, and other public lands are held in trust by the government (in this case, the state) for the benefit of the state’s citizens for purposes that include fishing, navigation, and commerce (Duff et al., 2003). In some instances, public trust purposes also include ecological functions or public recreation (Eichenberg and Vestal, 1992). Public trusts under this doctrine operate much like private trusts, with defined property, trustee(s), and beneficiaries. Under the public trust doctrine and common law, the state as trustee is generally proscribed from divesting the property permanently. As a result, mariculture operations generally cannot purchase permanent rights to a marine

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