North Carolina Sea Grant
Coastwatch Currents

Coastwatch Currents

February 5, 2016 | Rebecca Nagy

By CHUCK WEIRICH

Posted Feb. 5, 2016

Oysters in cage

Shellfish growers can get help selecting lease locations from a tool North Carolina Sea Grant helped to develop. Photo by E-Ching Lee.

North Carolina has great potential for shellfish aquaculture — and the more involved, the better for the industry.

If you are a potential or established shellfish grower — or just interested in shellfish culture-related topics — join me at a a free Shellfish Aquaculture Workshop. It will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton Riverfront Hotel New Bern on Saturday, Feb. 13. From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., we’ll be talking oyster and clam aquaculture in North Carolina.

Keynote speaker Bob Rheault, executive director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association, will give an overview and a history of the East Coast shellfish industry. In addition — and this is not mentioned in the agenda — he will discuss lessons learned about starting operations, problems to avoid and how to have a successful shellfish growing business.

We’ll also introduce two tools that will be interesting to both new and experienced growers: Virginia Sea Grant’s oyster crop budgeting tool and the N.C. Shellfish Siting Tool.

Also on the agenda (scroll down to the Saturday events) are topics such as steps to develop a business plan and updates on shellfish research and legislation affecting the industry, as well as information on the state’s shellfish gardening program.

You will get to attend the annual meetings of the North Carolina Shellfish Growers Association and the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association. It’s a great opportunity for you to learn about — and maybe join — these organizations. At the very least, these meetings will allow you to connect with growers in the state and on the East Coast.

Here’s a reason to consider joining the N.C. Shellfish Growers Association: The group lists all its member growers on its website. You can gain visibility for your operation — and perhaps additional sales too.

Participants will receive free admission to the industry trade show at the North Carolina Aquaculture Development Conference, which is going on at the same time.

There is no cost to attend the workshop but registration is required — even if you already are signed up for the N.C. Aquaculture Development Conference. Limited same-day registration may be available until the workshop reaches its capacity of 100.

The workshop is funded by a grant through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Sea Grant 2015 Aquaculture Extension and Technology Transfer program.

To register, contact Vanda Lewis at 252-222-6307 or vanda_lewis@ncsu.edu.

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