Aquaculture

Giving Tuesday

Extension word markWith the end of year and holidays approaching, consider making your gift to UConn Extension. Here are ways you can show your support:

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Connecticut Sea Grant Receives Research to Application Award

Sea Grant Association Research to Application Award Presented to Connecticut (CT), Maine (ME) and New Hampshire (NH) Sea Grant Programs

kelp
Charles Yarish, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology looks over a line of kelp as it is being harvested by the Thimble Islands Oyster Company from Long Island Sound near Branford on May 22, 2013. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

NEWPORT, RI— Seaweed cultivation is a rapidly growing industry in New England, providing new economic opportunities for seaside communities and would-be sea vegetable farmers. The widespread efforts to improve the growth and marketing of seaweeds in the Northeast U.S. are receiving well-deserved recognition; On Oct. 13, 2016, three state Sea Grant Programs — Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire, jointly received the Sea Grant Association’s Research to Application Group Award for their work to advance seaweed aquaculture.

The award, presented during the national Sea Grant Week conference in Newport, R.I., recognized the group effort titled “Northeast Sea Grant research paves the way for new sea vegetable aquaculture industry in New England.” Selected by a panel of judges from 17 total group nominations, this research has developed viable mass-scalable seaweed aquaculture for domestic markets. Outreach programs continue to expand these markets with active seaweed harvesters and diversified products. New processing methods and product forms are being evaluated and tested in all three states. Seed banks and nurseries were also established to assist growers.

“The award recipients exemplify the strength and value of integrated research, outreach and education programs supported by the Sea Grant network, and clearly demonstrate the importance of translational research in supporting science‐based management” said Sylvain De Guise, president of the Sea Grant Association.

For nearly 30 years, Sea Grant-sponsored researchers primarily in CT, NH and ME have investigated the basic physiology, genetics and growth of economically important seaweeds. This work served as the basis for recent research advancements in nursery and cultivation techniques and new applications.  Native seaweeds are now grown for food and other products such as fertilizer. Early milestones included growing sugar kelp in culture through an entire life cycle. Through partnerships with Ocean Approved LLC (Portland, ME) and Bridgeport (CT) Regional Aquaculture Science and Technology Education Center, culture systems were piloted and seeded kelp was grown on longlines near Bangs Island (ME) and in Long Island Sound. Bioextractive properties of seaweeds to clean polluted waters were analyzed in NH, CT, and Bronx, NY with additional support from the U.S. EPA.

CT and NH Sea Grant researchers also developed a free technical manual and training videos for the culture of four species of seaweed for human consumption, covering the biology, culture and cultivation systems for sugar kelp, Graciliaria, nori, and Chondrus crispus (Irish moss). CTSG extension staff partnered with CT state regulators to develop a permitting process for prospective kelp farmers. Workshops and public events have helped introduce businesses and the public to the benefits of seaweed as food and other products.

Worldwide, seaweed production eclipses the production of cultured shellfish, finfish and other marine organisms, but U.S. production contributes only ~1%.  This work will help to increase seaweed production, providing food and jobs. Seaweed cultivation also improves water quality in eutrophic urban coastal waters by removing nitrogen and phosphorus, which has been supported by both Sea Grant and the EPA Long Island Sound Study.

Team members named in the award nomination: Drs. Charles Yarish and Jang Kim (UCONN and Connecticut Sea Grant), John Curtis (Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Science and Technology Education Center), Drs. Nicholas Brown and Susan Brawley (Univ. of Maine), Sarah Redmond and Dana Morse (Maine Sea Grant Extension); Drs. Chris Neefus and Lindsay Green (Univ. of New Hampshire and NH Sea Grant), Amanda LaBelle (Island Institute), Anoushka Concepcion (Sea Grant and UConn Extension) and Peg Van Patten (Communicator, Connecticut Sea Grant).

Farm to Food Tour

shellfish
Photo: Tessa Getchis

This year’s Hartford County-UConn Extension, Farm to Food Tour is going to sea!  Extension’s partnership with Connecticut Sea Grant has opened the door to the mysteries of aquaculture and the “farmers” who produce Connecticut’s shellfish and other ocean grown products.

A luxury coach will take us from our starting (and ending) point in Glastonbury to visit notable seafood producers on Connecticut’s shoreline. UConn Extension’s partnership with Connecticut Sea Grant has opened the door to the mysteries of aquaculture and the farmers who produce Connecticut’s shellfish ad other ocean grown products. Following a visit to a New Haven based kelp farmer, the UConn Avery Point campus will welcome us to their historic Branford House mansion. There we will enjoy a delicious seafood luncheon. But save room because afterwards we’ll be treated to a raw bar with oysters that are fresh out of the ocean. This experience will be hosted by a working shellfish cooperative in Noank, CT where we’ll learn about harvesting shellfish from the people who do it. After that we’ll travel to Bluff Point State Park to see a demonstration of clam digging, and we’ll be encouraged to roll up our pant legs and dig some ourselves.

Send in your registration form right away–the bus fills up quickly. Registration deadline is August 31st. Questions can be directed to Martha at marthadan01@gmail.com.

More details and registration are available at this website. Contact your friends and mark your calendars.  This tour is sure to be very popular!  Make plans to join us and learn how UConn Extension supports and celebrates Connecticut’s aquaculture and shellfish industry.

Survival Training for Commercial Fishermen

entering life raft
Fishermen practice climbing into the life raft from the water in their immersion suits. The strongest person enters first, to help the rest of the crew into the raft. Photo: Nancy Balcom.
immersion suits
Trainer Ed Dennehy from Fishing Partnership Support Services watches as fishermen practice entering the water in their immersion suits properly. Photo: Nancy Balcom.
fire suppression
A fisherman practices fire suppression with a crew member providing backup.; Trainer Jake Cabral from Fishing Partnership Support Services looks on. Photo: Nancy Balcom.

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Nancy Balcom, Associate Director and Program Leader, Connecticut Sea Grant, and Senior Extension Educator, UConn Extension, organized and facilitated safety and survival training for 49 commercial fishermen. The training was sponsored by Connecticut Sea Grant, US Coast Guard, University of Connecticut and the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association on May 4, 2016 at the University of Connecticut – Avery Point. Drill instructor certification for 24 fishermen was conducted on May 5, 2016. Training was provided by Fishing Partnership Support Services (MA) and by Coast Guard F/V Examiners from New Haven CT and Coram (Long Island) NY.

Did You Know: Mapping the Industry

 

shellfish mapShellfish aquaculture is a large and growing part of Connecticut’s agriculture sector, but site selection is a major challenge. Farmers cultivate oysters, clams and scallops in designated areas of Long Island Sound. Those sites are considered public property and are leased from the state. Farmers need to identify growing areas that are biologically productive for their crop while also considering the potential use conflicts or environmental interactions with their activity on those sites.

To help improve site selection for aquaculture, the Aquaculture Mapping Atlas was developed by Assistant Extension Educator Cary Chadwick, in collaboration with Extension Educator Tessa Getchis and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture.

The latest version of this interactive map viewer includes new data layers and functions. The viewer has updated commercial and recreational harvest areas, natural beds, and shellfish classification areas as well as a plethora of navigation, environmental condition, and natural resource data. Users can overlay map layers, draw new lease areas, and print professional-looking maps.

CT Sea Grant Awarded Grant to Grow Aquaculture and Shellfisheries

Tessa on boat
Tessa Getchis of UConn Extension

Tessa Getchis, Connecticut Sea Grant/UConn Extension aquaculture educator at the University of Connecticut, has been awarded a grant totaling $315,240 to enhance the growth of Connecticut aquaculture and shellfisheries. The project, titled “Listening, Learning and Leading to Support Shellfish Aquaculture Growth in Connecticut and the Nation” is funded by the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program’s Aquaculture Technology Transfer Initiative.

The effort will allow Connecticut Sea Grant, UConn Extension staff and key partners including the Connecticut Bureau of Aquaculture and the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Milford Laboratory to carry out activities meant to enhance public awareness of Connecticut’s shellfish resources. The work will support the ongoing Connecticut Shellfish Initiative. The Initiative, a multi-year effort, brings together local interests, including commercial and recreational shellfishermen, municipal shellfish commissioners, academics, NGOs and state and federal resource managers to work together to grow the shellfish industry, increase recreational shellfishing opportunities and enhance natural shellfish populations in Connecticut.

Among the grant activities to be implemented is a public perception survey to help inform a new outreach and education campaign on Connecticut shellfish resources. Community interaction on shellfish topics will also be enhanced by events such as Ag Day at the Capitol, seminars, booths at shellfish festivals and clam digs and use of social media. Another key aspect of the effort will be an economic assessment of Connecticut’s shellfish aquaculture industry and a report on the results.

Finally, the shellfish aquaculture team will collaborate with other states and regions that are developing shellfish initiatives and promote the NOAA National Shellfish Initiative. The goal of the national initiative is to increase populations of bivalve shellfish in our nation’s coastal waters—including oysters, clams, abalone, and mussels—through both sustainable commercial production and restoration activities.

 

Living Shoreline Workshop

living shoreline meeting

Connecticut Sea Grant and Extension’s CLEAR hosted the second Living Shoreline Workshop in June as part of the Climate Adaptation Academy. This workshop brought over 100 participants together to hear experts from Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and other states including Connecticut talk about different aspects of living shorelines including on the ground examples and what has and hasn’t worked.

 

Shellfish Mapping Tool

A new version of the Connecticut Aquaculture Mapping Atlas has been launched at: http://clear3.uconn.edu/aquaculture/.

The new and improved website was built based on feedback from shellfish interest groups like yours. The latest version of this interactive map viewer includes new data layers and functions. The viewer includes updated commercial and recreational harvest areas, natural beds, and shellfish classification areas as well as a plethora of navigation, environmental condition, and natural resource data. The viewer allows users to overlay map layers, draw new lease areas, and print professional-looking maps.

New to the Mapping Atlas? Take a look at the user guide or listen in to our upcoming webinar “Using the Aquaculture Mapping Atlas for Fun and Profit” to be held on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 2 PM to 3 PM. Check out the webinar description below and be sure to contact us with questions or comments. For your convenience, the webinar will also be recorded and archived on the CLEAR website.

Shellfish aquaculture is a large and growing part of Connecticut’s agriculture sector, but site selection is a major challenge. Farmers cultivate oysters, clams and scallops in designated areas of Long Island Sound. Those sites are considered public property and are leased from the state. Because these underwater farms are not located on private property, new or expanding activities are faced with a significant amount of scrutiny. Farmers need to identify growing areas that are biologically productive for their crop while also considering the potential use conflicts or environmental interactions with their activity on those sites. To help improve site selection for aquaculture, the Aquaculture Mapping Atlas was developed. This webinar will introduce the new function and capabilities of Version 4.

Presenters: Tessa Getchis, Connecticut Sea Grant & Cary Chadwick, UConn CLEAR

To register, visit: http://s.uconn.edu/shellfishwebinar

We encourage your feedback so that we can improve the aquaculture and shellfisheries resources we provide. Contact: tessa.getchis@uconn.edu. Technical questions regarding the Atlas should be directed to cary.chadwick@uconn.edu. Data questions should be directed to: kristin.derosia-banick@ct.gov

The Connecticut Aquaculture Mapping Atlas was developed by the University of Connecticut Center for Land Use Education and Research, in collaboration with Connecticut Sea Grant and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture.