Oyster Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico
In 2012, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program and Louisiana Sea Grant Law and Policy Program received funding to evaluate the feasibility of using the value of ecosystem services provided by oyster farming to offset regulatory fees. This work is part of the broader effort of the research team, which includes individuals from Auburn University, Louisiana State University, Shellfish Environmental Services, and Northern Economics Inc., to quantify the economic value of off-bottom oyster aquaculture and its ecosystem services in the northern Gulf of Mexico. This research project entitled, ‘Quantifying the Economic Value of Ecosystem Services of Oyster Farming as Offsets to Regulatory Fees’, was funded by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Sea Grant Office.
Inventory of State Submerged Lands Leasing Programs in the Gulf of Mexico
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.