Summary: Develop an automated or semi-automated permit assistant for marine aquaculture. Similar to tax preparation programs available to the public, programs should be template based, draw on existing documents and laws in the public domain, and be used on a fee-for-service basis with the result being dramatically reduced time/effort for completion of permit documents (Environmental Assessments, Environmental Impact Statements, Corps of Engineers permits, and so on), with improved information quality and consistency, less expense and improved permit reviews. Electronic assistants may focus on any area of marine aquaculture permitting, for any agency permitting process, and/or could provide “one stop” services for multi-agency permit applications. Those focused on federal permit requirements are preferred.
Project Goals: Aquaculture producers are currently faced with slow, complex and often confusing permitting processes that must be completed before they can begin operations. The concern over placing significant time and investment into completing and submitting a permit application only to have it rejected is deterring much needed investment in aquaculture. Having an automated tool to speed up and improve the accuracy of the permit application process will result in more permit applications being filed and more permits being awarded. Projects must demonstrate a high degree of accuracy and completeness when providing a final product to their customers, and must demonstrate the capacity to incorporate frequent and potentially unanticipated updates to laws, regulations and policies that influence the permit process and permitting decisions. Potential buyers of this software could include state or federal permitting agencies who have are responsible for managing the permit process, reviewing incoming permit applications and then approving and issuing permits related to aquaculture. Primary users of this software will be aquaculture producers who are seeking to obtain or renew permits associated with aquaculture activities.