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Aquatic Farming Program

Welcome to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Aquatic Farm Leasing Program website. The purpose of this site is to provide an introduction to the aquatic farming opportunities here in the State of Alaska.

What is Aquatic Farming?

Aquatic Farming, also referred to as Mariculture, is where marine organisms are cultured in captivity or under positive control. Most of the aquatic farm products currently being raised in Alaska are the Pacific Oyster, littleneck clams, and mussels. However, as the industry continues to expand and culture techniques are refined, it is anticipated other products such as the geoduck clam and marine plants will gain prominence within the industry.

Brief History on Alaska and Aquatic Farming

The Aquatic Farm Act (Section 19, Chapter 145, SLA 1988) was signed into law on June 8, 1988, authorizing the Commissioner of Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to issue permits for the construction or operation of aquatic farms, and hatcheries to supply aquatic plants or shellfish to aquatic farms. The intent of the program was to create an industry in the state that would contribute to the state's economy and strengthen the competiveness of Alaska seafood in the world marketplace, broadening the diversity of products and providing year-round supplies of premium quality seafood. The law limited aquatic farming to shellfish and aquatic plants. In 1990 CSHB 432 became law, prohibiting farming of finfish in the state.

DNR's Role

DNR issues authorizations for the use of tide and submerged land to support aquatic farming activities. In keeping with Article VIII of the Alaska State Constitution, DNR looks to balance the use of land for the development of aquatic farming with traditional uses of the area, upland owner access, public access, and navigation of public waters.

This statewide program is jointly administered by three state agencies, including DNR, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). For questions, comments, and/or concerns about the Aquatic Farm Program, contact:

Dept. of Natural Resources
  Aquatic Farm Program

  • 550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 900C
  • Anchorage, AK 99501
  • Phone: (907) 269-8543
  • Fax: (907) 269-8913

  • Karen Cougan,
    Program Coordinator

Dept. of Fish and Game
   Mariculture Program

Dept. of Environmental   Conservation Seafood   Program