North Carolina has a growing marine aquaculture industry that includes soft crabs, clams, oysters and other species. Below are resources for growers.

Aquaculture Siting Tool

Researchers at the University of North Carolina Wilmington developed the North Carolina Shellfish Siting Tool for current and future shellfish growers. A National Sea Grant Strategic Initiative supported this effort by awarding funding to Sea Grant.

Shellfish growers in North Carolina lack data that allow them to select locations with the most potential before choosing areas to lease. This GIS-based site-selection tool assists growers in identifying promising bottom-lease locations for their aquaculture operations.

Users can search based on important factors for locating a shellfish culture operation — presence/absence of shellfish, submerged aquatic vegetation, current leases, boat access areas and salinity.

Learn more about this tool and how to use it. For more information, contact Scott Baker.


Opened oysters on ice

Oysters on the halfshell. Photo by Vanda Lewis

Chuck Weirich, marine aquaculture specialist, North Carolina Sea Grant
Weirich is the point of contact for general information on all aspects of marine aquaculture development in the state.

Valerie Wunderly, coordinator, Shellfish Lease Program, NC Division of Marine Fisheries
Contact Wunderly for more information on obtaining a shellfish lease in North Carolina.

Troy Alphin, research scientist, Center for Marine Science, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Alphin oversees ongoing development of the NC Shellfish Aquaculture Siting Tool.

Ami Wilbur, director, UNCW Shellfish Research Hatchery
Wilbur oversees a number of research projects designed to improve and diversify hatchery production and seed supply for the state’s shellfish industry.

David Cerino, chair, Carteret Community College Aquaculture Program
The program provides two years of practical training in aquaculture.

Kay Yates, Craven/Carteret County executive director, USDA Farm Service Agency
USDA FSA offers programs for aquaculture producers, including farm loans and crop insurance.