Follow the Big Bend Shellfish Trail

The Big Bend Shellfish Trail and Map was produced with a grant award of $20,000 received by the Levy County Board of County Commission. One of five collaborative grants awarded across the Big Bend counties—Dixie, Jefferson, Levy, and Taylor—the funding encouraged partnerships to strengthen the region’s economic vitality while simultaneously ensuring the ongoing health of its natural resources. “A number of partners participated in the creation of Florida’s first Shellfish Trail and the largest trail of its kind in the United States. This project showcases our working waterfront communities and encourages economic growth in Levy County and in the Big Bend Region,” said Levy County Commissioner John Meeks.

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Red Tide Stinks! Workshop on Strategies for Dealing with Harmful Algal Blooms

Florida Sea Grant and the Gulf Shellfish Institute are hosting an upcoming workshop for the southwest Florida shellfish industry. This workshop aims to bring together industry, scientists and regulators to discuss shellfish industry challenges as related to harmful algal blooms.

The workshop will be held on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm at the South Florida Museum, 201 10th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34205. Registration and coffee open at 8:30 am. Lunch will be provided on site.  An evening reception will follow the workshop from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, also at the South Florida Museum.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Angela Collins, Florida Sea Grant Extension,

Sign-up for USDA Farm Service Agency NAP Coverage

The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides financial assistance to growers of non-insurable crops to protect against natural disasters that result in crop losses. NAP provides catastrophic level (CAT) coverage based on the amount of loss that exceeds 50% of expected production at 55% of the average market price for the crop. Beginning in 2015, additional coverage may be elected by growers by the application closing date; growers who buy-up coverage must pay a premium for that level of coverage in addition to the service fee. The NAP Fact Sheet can be viewed here.

To be covered for the 2018 crop year, the deadline for clam growers to sign-up and pay the applicable service fee, and premium if elected, is September 1 at your local FSA office. Oyster culture is now also covered by NAP in select counties.

How to Attend Upcoming Hatchery Workshop through Internet

The University of Florida/IFAS Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Program will be hosting a workshop entitled Advances in Shellfish Hatchery Technology and Review of Operational & Maintenance Guidelines on Thursday, August 23rd from 4-6 pm (EST) at the Senator George Kirkpatrick Marine Lab in Cedar Key, FL. The workshop presenter will be Dr. John Supan, director of the Louisiana Sea Grant Oyster Hatchery, a state-of-the art facility which opened in 2015 to produce a billion oyster larvae for supplementing natural production of public oyster bars. Dr. Supan has over 25 years of shellfish hatchery experience.

To accommodate interest in this workshop, there are several ways you can attend remotely with internet connection. The workshop will be broadcasted live via the Zoom app. Click here to download Zoom and access the workshop on August 23rd  (4-6 pm). You can also download the Zoom mobile app to participate using an iPhone or Android. Click here for some basic instructions on using Zoom. Zoom participants will have the ability to submit questions that may be relayed to Dr. Supan following his talk. A recording of the workshop will be made available for those unable to attend.

If you have any questions, contact Carter Cyr, at 207-228-5622 or

Hatchery Workshop August 23 in Cedar Key

A series of workshops is being conducted to address industry issues in the production of shellfish seed. Hatchery operators and personnel are invited to attend. The topic of this workshop is: Advances in Shellfish Hatchery Technology and Review of Operational & Maintenance Guidelines. Topics to be presented include: advances in shellfish hatchery system design, filtration equipment, and algal production systems; how to set up and operate a semi-closed or closed (recirculating) hatchery system; how to adjust water supply source with buffering system if pH and alkalinity are not optimal and values to maintain; and outline of shellfish hatchery operation and maintenance guidelines and troubleshooting tips. The workshop presenter is Dr. John Supan, who is the director of the Louisiana Sea Grant Oyster Hatchery, Grand Isle, LA, a state-of-the art facility opened in 2015 to produce a billion oyster larvae for supplementing natural production of public oyster reefs.

The hatchery workshop will be held on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 from 4 to 5:30 pm at the FWC Senator George Kirkpatrick Marine Lab, Classroom located at 11350 SW 153rd Court, Cedar Key, FL.

Individual hatchery visits in Cedar Key with Dr. Supan can be scheduled from 2-4 pm on August 23 & from 8-10 am on August 24. Contact Leslie to schedule. Please confirm your attendance in advance to ensure adequate handout materials by contacting Leslie Sturmer, UF/IFAS Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Program, Phone: (352) 543-5057, Email:, or Rose Cantwell, Cedar Key Aquaculture Association, Phone: (352) 215-6341, Email:

A copy of the workshop flyer (pdf file) can be accessed here.

2017 Census of Agriculture: Make Sure You Are Counted!

Fish, shellfish, plant, reptile, crustacean and other farmers that grow aquatic animals will soon have the opportunity to represent aquaculture in their communities, state and nationally by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census, to be mailed at the end of this year, is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them. As examples of the importance of Census of Agriculture data, this information drives decision making by state and federal governments, manufacturers of aquaculture production gear, drugs and chemicals, and state and federal funding for research and development.  All farm data is held confidential by NASS. Continue reading

Aquaculture Certificate Renewals and Shellfish Harvester Training

All Aquaculture Certificates of Registration (“AQ cards”) will expire on June 30th. Renewal information will be mailed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Division of Aquaculture, this includes a preprinted application and notice of $100 fee. Any applicant working with shellfish must complete the Harvester Education Training and submit a copy of their certificate of training along with the application. Applications and fees must be returned by June 30th to avoid a lapse in certification. They may be submitted via mail: FDACS, P.O. Box 6710, Tallahassee, FL 32314-6710, with a check or money order made payable to FDACS. Renewing applicants may submit their application, training certificate, and payment online here. Online renewals must include a signed application and harvester education training certificate. Continue reading

Hatchery Workshop April 26-27 in Cedar Key

A series of workshops is being conducted to address industry issues in the production of shellfish seed. Hatchery operators and personnel are invited to attend. The topic of this workshop is Managing Diseases in the Hatchery through Bacteriological Monitoring. Topics to be presented include: Review of opportunistic bacterial diseases in the hatchery, Supplies and equipment needed for bacterial sampling, Step-by-step procedures to follow for sampling, Where and how often to take samples in the hatchery, Interpretation of results, What the samples mean, Remediation, and How to correct the problem. Sampling kits (media plates, loops, swabs, etc.) will be provided. Presenters include: Susan Laramore PhD,  Aquatic Animal Health Lab, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University, Ft. Pierce; and Ruth Francis-Floyd DVM, Aquatic Animal Health Program, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville.

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Florida Sea Grant Shellfish Aquaculture Workshop

Florida Sea Grant developed a new 4-year strategic plan this spring. One of the areas covered in the FSG strategic plan is aquaculture. Not only is shellfish aquaculture an important business sector in Florida, it is unique in that there is a history of dedicated federal funding for research and extension. The aim of this workshop is to help Florida institutions acquire a substantial amount of these funds to use in solving the highest priority issues affecting the shellfish aquaculture industry. Industry members, researchers, and agency representatives can help FSG identify and prioritize these issues in greater detail than what has been done in the strategic plan. The outcome will be a solution-oriented plan that will help to guide research and information needs of the industry.

The workshop will be held on Wednesday, March 1 from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Osceola County Extension Office, located in the Osceola Heritage Park, 1921 Kissimmee Valley Lane, Kissimmee, Florida. Lunch will be provided by Florida Sea Grant.

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Restoration of oyster reefs to enhance Oystercatcher habitat in Cedar Key

To address erosion of oyster reefs used seasonally by American Oystercatchers, the Shellfish Extension Program and Cedar Key Aquaculture Association worked with FWC biologists to apply previously demonstrated restoration techniques at Corrigan’s Reef and Gomez Key. Cedar Key is home to the largest population of wintering Oystercatchers in Florida. Oystercatchers roost on unwooded, high-tide sandbars and oyster reefs. This habit may help Oystercatchers distance themselves from predators associated with wooded areas, such as raccoons and birds of prey. Last summer, 1000 damaged clam bags removed from aquaculture leases were used as bulkhead material at these two sites. Limerock cobbles were added later. Then in January, over 20 volunteers along with UF and FWC folks spread 100 bushels of clam shell collected from processing plants over the boulders. This approach is designed to promote oyster colonization, to resist wave action and tidal erosion, and, ultimately, increase elevation of Oystercatcher roosting habitat. For more information on this and another oyster restoration project in Cedar Key, visit