Oyster South Symposium is Coming Soon

Financial assistance available for growers to attend

The 3rd Annual Oyster South Symposium is being held on February 22-23th, 2019 in Orange Beach, Alabama. Sponsored by Oyster South, Inc. (a non-profit dedicated to advancing oyster aquaculture in the southern US), in collaboration with National Sea Grant, this event brings together producers, gear suppliers, distributors, chefs, food writers, vendors, researchers, students and managers from the southeast region to discuss pressing issues and relevant, practical research on oyster aquaculture. Registration is now open and includes admission to all informational sessions (all day Friday and Saturday morning), all breaks, lunch on Friday, a mixer on Friday night, and the trade show. Meeting fees are based on current membership and industry role. Continue reading

Discussion with Dixie County Oyster Growers

To address increased interest in oyster aquaculture, applied research and demonstration projects were initiated in 2016 to evaluate an oyster breeding process to Florida conditions. Diploid and triploid oysters were cultured at commercial farms and at the UF experimental site in Cedar Key, where replicated field trials allow for documenting the effects of management practices on production. Ongoing field trials are continuing to examine several gear types and biofouling control strategies. Continue reading

Dr. Andy Kane (UF) Speaks on Health and Safety of Gulf Seafood Workers

When: Wednesday, October 24, 2018, 10-11 am

A webinar is being hosted by the Southeastern Coastal Center for Agricultural Health and Safety and UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education to discuss the “Occupational Health and Safety Surveillance of Gulf Seafood Workers.” Commercial ocean fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. Workplace-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths are not uncommon for commercial seafood workers, and many of these adverse outcomes are avoidable in this mostly self-employed uninsured, hardworking workforce that feeds our nation.

Dr. Andy Kane, UF Associate Professor of the Department of Environmental and Global Health and Director of the UF Aquatic Pathobiology Laboratories, will present his research on commercial fishery workers and safety in the southeastern US. This project addresses critical gaps in our understanding of hazards and risk factors for Gulf seafood workers.

Register online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/webinar-occupational-health-and-safety-surveillance-of-gulf-seafood-workers-registration-50364591850

For additional information, please contact: Phillip Stokes at (352) 273-3139 or p.stokes@ufl.edu

Report Crop Losses for NAP Coverage to Local USDA FSA Office

For those shellfish growers who signed up for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, or NAP, with the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) for crop year 2019, there is a 72-hour requirement to notify your county office when crop losses are apparent (that means when you have been able to inspect your crop and know that you have had mortalities). For oyster growers in Wakulla County, your local office is in Monticello. The phone number is (800) 243-9912 or (850) 997-2072, ext 2. For shellfish growers in Franklin County, the Blountstown office is closed, contact the Wakulla County office instead to report losses. You will also need to get your inventory records together for before and after Hurricane Michael.

Hurricane Michael Recovery Assistance

Shellfish growers are already hard at work recovering gear and assessing damages in the Panhandle and Big Bend areas. To view Hurricane Michael Imagery of the lease areas from NOAA’s database visit: https://storms.ngs.noaa.gov/storms/michael/index.html#.

For any growers affected by Michael, you may want to join the Oyster South Growers Exchange group. People are posting pics of recovered gear, offering assistance, and coordinating hardware store runs. Visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/oystersouthgrowersexchange/ to join the group.

We will be sharing posts from Wakulla and Franklin County Emergency Operations Center’s Facebook pages on our UF/IFAS Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Facebook Page. For up-to-date resources and information on the federal response to Hurricane Michael from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), please visit https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-michael. Continue reading

New Fact Sheet: Production and Performance of Triploid Oysters for Aquaculture

Triploid oyster aquaculture has become an integral part of the global molluscan aquaculture industry. Currently, triploid Pacific oysters account for 50% of the production on the west coast of the U.S. and nearly 100% of the eastern oyster seed production in the Chesapeake Bay. The industry widely recognizes the use of triploidy in oyster aquaculture because of their potential for fast growth, superior meat quality (especially in summer), year-round harvestability, and low environmental pressure on wild populations (due to their sterility). A fact sheet written by UF/IFAS faculty provides a review of production and performance of triploid oysters for aquaculture. Methodologies, survivability, and ploidy determination are also described. Download the fact sheet (pdf file) here.

Visit the UF/IFAS EDIS (Electronic Data Information System) website to view all current fact sheets on a variety of topics.

Videos and Presentations from Shellfish Aquaculture Gear Workshop

Shellfish aquaculture gear management techniques and strategies to prevent gear loss were discussed at a workshop held on September 12, 2018. Hosted by the FDACS Division of Aquaculture, the workshop was held in partnership with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and NOAA’s Marine Debris Program. Guest speakers included Charles Grisafi, of NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, and Bob Rheault, Executive Director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association. Dr. Bill Walton, MS-AL Sea Grant, and Leslie Sturmer, UF-IFAS led panel discussions on oyster and clam gear management techniques which featured farmers and their personal experiences.

The workshop was recorded and broken into two video segments, one featuring the Oyster Aquaculture Panel and the other featuring the Clam Aquaculture Panel. The beginning audio portion of the Clam Aquaculture Session was poor, however, all videos, time stamps for presentations (allowing one to fast forward to a specific presentation), and information presented can be accessed through the following links. Continue reading

Shellfish Aquaculture Gear Workshop

Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2018 1-5pm

Location: FWC Senator Kirkpatrick Marine Lab, 11350 SW 153rd Court, Cedar Key, FL

In partnership with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, the FDACS Division of Aquaculture is hosting a workshop to discuss shellfish aquaculture gear management techniques and strategies to prevent gear loss. Guest speakers Charles Grisafi, of NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, and Bob Rheault, Executive Director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association, will discuss the importance of marine debris prevention as the shellfish aquaculture industry increases in size and begins utilizing new production methods and gear.

Informal group discussions of oyster and clam gear management techniques will be led by Dr. Bill Walton, MS-AL Sea Grant, and Leslie Sturmer, UF-IFAS. Each session will feature a panel of farmers that will discuss their personal experiences working with shellfish gear. The workshop will conclude with an overview of a recent aquaculture debris survey in Cedar Key, and the organization of a cleanup event on September 15th, to coincide with Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. Continue reading

Videos and Presentations from Understanding USDA Farm Service Agency Programs Workshop

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is responsible for the delivery of federal farm programs to help producers manage risks and recover from disasters. The Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program, or NAP, provides financial assistance to growers of non-insurable crops to protect them against natural disasters that result in crop losses. A workshop was held on August 24, 2018 to learn about coverage levels for the 2019 crop year, application deadlines, and which counties cover clam, oyster, and sunray venus crops. Note that the deadline to sign out for NAP coverage for the 2019 crop year is September 4, 2018.

A one-time program, the 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program, or WHIP, provides disaster relief to agricultural and aquacultural producers. This funding helps replace losses occurred during the 2017 hurricane season. Eligibility and other requirements were introduced at the workshop. Heather Boyd, Continue reading

Travel Funds for Oyster Growers

Peer-To-Pier Fellowship Program

The purpose of the Peer-To-Pier Fellowship Program, supported by an award from the National Sea Grant College Program and contributions from Oyster South, is to support peer-to-peer learning opportunities for oyster farmers in the southern US to attend industry conferences and shows, as well as visiting peers in other parts of the country to pursue learning opportunities. Funds may not be used to purchase seed or gear. Under this program, at least 8 awards of up to $1,000 each will be provided. Continue reading