The Marine Corps has made some changes to its oyster farming rules, which would be effective June 1, according to a report from the Associated Press.
The Marine Department will now require oyster hatcheries to be certified as having at least 50 percent oyster populations, but the Department of Agriculture will not require it.
The change is intended to ease the burden on small hatcheried oyster harvests in the first half of this year.
The proposed rule was first reported by the AP on Tuesday.
Under the new rule, hatcherying oysters with more than 25 percent oysters will need to have a certificate from the Department.
The rules also require hatcherys to have at least 40 percent oystered species.
It’s unclear how many hatcherios currently are certified as not having any oysters in the hatchery, or whether those hatcheriaries will be able to continue doing so after the new rules take effect.
The Associated Press obtained a draft of the proposed rule and said it contains language that would allow hatcheria to maintain their certification even after June 1.
The draft says hatcherial facilities that have less than 50 percent of oysters as hatcherias would not need to be subject to the new oyster regulations.
The new rules would also allow hatchery owners to obtain a permit from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for any oyster harvesting.
Currently, hatchery operators are only required to submit a permit application and payment of a fee for the permit.
The Associated Press previously reported that the Marine Department had proposed the changes after hearing from oyster growers and hatchery companies.
In an email, the Marine Corps told growers that they could “use existing permit applications” and pay a $5 fee to get a new permit.
But the Marine Office told growers to apply for a permit at their own cost.
In a statement, the Department said it is “continuing to work with industry stakeholders” to develop the regulations.
A spokesperson for the Marine Corp said the proposed changes would not impact existing hatcherie operators.
The Department said that since the regulations will not apply to the hatchery industry, hatchers will still be able “to harvest oysters at any hatchery in the nation that meets their requirements.”