If you have met all the Off-Bottom Oyster Aquaculture Training Program requirements and wish to culture your own oysters, an Off-Bottom Oyster Aquaculture license, Molluscan Shellfish Commercial Aquaculture Permit, and Off-Bottom Public Trust Tidelands Sub-Lease Packet are required. Licenses can be purchased in the MDMR Licensing Office located on the first floor of the Bolton Building in Biloxi, MS. Molluscan Shellfish Commercial Aquaculture Permits are issued to all aquaculture harvesters with an active license and include the status on all endorsements for aquaculture activity. Initial issuing and renewals of the permit require a completed application. Both need to be completed annually before May 1st.


Off-Bottom Public Trust Tidelands Sub-Leases are managed by MDMR and the the Secretary of the State. Currently, there are 466 acres located south of Deer Island permitted for commercial off-bottom oyster aquaculture harvest. Harvesters who have successfully completed both phases of the Off-Bottom Oyster Aquaculture Training Program can apply to lease up to two acres within the Deer Island Commercial Aquaculture Park.

Applicants must submit all documents listed below for their Public Trust Tidelands Sub-Lease Packet.

  • Operational Plan: covers lease layout, construction plans, a predator control plan, and source of seedstock
  • Business Plan: an in-depth outline of projected lease and business expenses
  • Business Certificate (copy): applicant shall form a business with the State of Mississippi through the MS Secretary of State Office and submit a copy of the certificate
  • MDAC Permit Application: applicant must complete an application and pay all required fees with the MS Department of Agriculture
  • Storm Management Plan: covers plans for securing or moving the aquaculture facility/equipment in the event of a significant storm or hurricane
  • Oyster Farming Resilience Index: a self-assessment tool designed to assist oyster farmers in identifying actions for long-term resilience for natural, human, and economic disasters

Once all documents have been submitted and approved, the applicant will sign and notarize for final execution. Proof of general liability insurance for the total acreage of the lease is required when the sub-lease agreement is returned.


The MDMR requires the use of identification tags on all containers of oysters taken from Mississippi state waters. Whether taking home for personal use or selling for raw consumption, these tags give information that is necessary to protect public health, the harvester, and dealer. Each color depicts the intended use of the oysters after harvest and is explained below. Harvesters can purchase tags by completing this form.

VESL is a free app for submitting electronic trip tickets. It is accessible to all Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Active harvesters can contact the MDMR to set up their account and training with the program.


Please answer the following sections regarding your lease activities for the past month. All starred fields are required. Once completed, your report will be submitted to the Shellfish Bureau.


Listed below are local hatcheries and nurseries that are available for harvesters. Only the Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, shall be reared on the Deer Island Aquaculture Park.


Magnolia Key Oyster


Contact: Terry Boyd, (228) 217-1313


Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory

Hatchery and Nursery

150 Agassiz St., Dauphin Island, AL 36528

Contact: Scott Rikard, (251) 861-3018


Double D Oyster Company


2830 Lawrence Steiner Road, Theodore, AL 36582

Contact: Doug Ankersen, (251) 591-7346


Navy Cove Oyster Farm


Contact: Chuck Wilson, (225) 892-6886


Triple N Oyster Farm LLC


LSU Innovation Park, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70820

Contact: Dr. Steve Pollock, PhD, (225) 588-6254


Bay Shellfish Company

Hatchery and Nursery

P.O. Box 289, Terra Ceia, FL 34250

Contact: Curt Hemmel, (727) 309-1269


Great Florida Shellfish Company

Hatchery and Nursery

72 Azalea Circle, Tequesta, FL 33469

Contact: Tom McCrudden, (561) 702-8159