Texas Cultivated Oyster Mariculture Program and Permitting Process

Current Farmers

Legalizing Cultured Oyster Mariculture in Texas

In September 2019, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1300 to authorize the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) to oversee cultivated oyster mariculture (COM) in the State of Texas. The program was officially adopted in September 2020, thus making Texas the final state on the Gulf of Mexico to legalize COM. 

The bill authorized two types of COM activities: farms (grow-out facilities where seed oysters are grown into market-size oysters for harvest) and nurseries (facilities where seed oysters can be grown to a larger seed size under 1 inch). Each type of operation is permitted under a separate Cultivated Oyster Mariculture Permit (COMP), generally valid for 10 years.

Key Program Requirements

The following are select requirements for the COM program as detailed in the resources below. Please review our summary of Texas Administrative Code’s COM rules and the TPWD COM FAQ website for more details. In addition to TPWD’s rules, all COM permittees must adhere to federal, state, and local laws. A detailed guide to governmental permitting and regulations affecting Texas COM operations.


  • The only acceptable species for cultivation is the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica).

  • Cultivated oysters may NOT be placed on natural reefs.

  • Cultivated and wild oysters cannot co-mingle.

  • An Oyster Transport Document are required when transporting seed or oysters.

  • Seed must be purchased from approved organizations and originate from approved broodstock regions.

  • Ploidy and the following pathogen reports are required for all imported seed.

    • MSX (Haplosporidium nelsoni)

    • Dermo (Perkinsus marinus)

    • Bonamiosis (Bonamia exitiosa)

    • Oyster Herpes Virus (OsHV-1)

  • Permittees must notify TPWD within 24 hours of any non-dermo disease outbreak or unintentional release of oysters.

More on Biosecurity

Stocking and Harvesting

  • Minimum stocking criteria is 100,000 seed per acre of COMP.

  • Oysters must be at least 2.5 inches long at harvest.

  • Harvesting after dark (sunset to 30 minutes after sunrise) is prohibited.

  • Annual reporting is required. Keep your receipts!

Program Fees

Please note that this is a non-exhaustive list and additional fees may be required.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

  • $200 permit application fee

  • Cost of newspaper notice for public meeting

  • Annual farm fees: $450 per acre per year

  • Annual nursery fees: $170 per acre per year + $0.01 per square foot per year

Texas General Land Office

  • $50 application fee

  • $1,500 per acre per year

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