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:

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:

We encourage your feedback so that we can improve the aquaculture and shellfisheries resources we provide. Contact: Technical questions regarding the Atlas should be directed to Data questions should be directed to:

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.