Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture Permitting under Nationwide Permit 48

Sponsored by the Agricultural and Food Law Consortium



In January 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers renewed and reissued each of its nationwide permits. Nationwide permits, or NWPs, are issued at the federal level under the Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors Act, and are intended to provide a quicker and less complex means to permit activities that cause only minimal individual and cumulative impacts. In particular, this webinar focuses on Nationwide Permit 48, which authorizes commercial shellfish aquaculture activities taking place in waters of the United States.

While NWP 48 provides a streamlined federal permitting process for commercial shellfish operations, it is not as simple as it may seem on the surface. In order to begin operations as quickly as possible, aquaculturists must remain cognizant of the variations in its applicability across the country. Permitting processes vary from region-to-region and from state-to-state. Furthermore, even if applicants are successfully granted a shellfish aquaculture permit by the Corps, other agencies in a state can prevent them from actually making use of that permit due to additional requirements. So, while nationwide permits can make the process easier in many locales, it is important to recognize NWP 48 is not always the answer.

This webinar will explore some of the remaining challenges to commercial shellfish aquaculture permitting in the wake of NWP 48’s 2017 reissuance, including several potential regulatory, procedural, and legal complications.


This webinar was recorded on August 15, 2018.  To listen to a recording of the webinar, please click here.


Amanda Nichols is the Ocean and Coastal Law Fellow with the National Sea Grant Law Center and the University of Mississippi School of Law. Amanda received a B.A. in English from the University of Mississippi and a J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law. She earned her LL.M. in Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law from the Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College. She is licensed to practice law in Florida and hopes to work on environmental law issues in the state in her future. As the NSGLC fellow, Amanda researches, publishes, and presents on legal and policy issues related to aquaculture, agriculture and food, and ocean and coastal matters.

Research & Materials:

Nationwide Permit Reissuance Fact Sheet 

Federal Register Notice, Issuance and Reissuance of Nationwide Permits – pgs. 1922 – 1931

2017 Nationwide Permits Summary Chart – pg. 8