New Fact Sheet: Molluscan Shellfish Aquaculture and Production

Molluscan shellfish aquaculture provides high quality and high value seafood for human consumption, and mollusks provide environmentally beneficial ecosystem services. In the past five decades, global fisheries and aquaculture have grown steadily, and seafood consumption per capita has increased. Molluscan shellfish has traditionally been a major component of world aquaculture. Today, mollusks are cultured in 76 countries. In the United States, molluscan aquaculture is a $329 million industry involving 756 farms in 18 states.

An 8-page fact sheet written by UF/IFAS faculty provides a review of molluscan shellfish aquaculture and production worldwide and in the United States. Molluscan shellfish habitats, culture stages and methodologies 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.

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 prior to May 1st, 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.

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Gator Good Story on Cedar Key Clam Farming

Cedar Key Clam Farming Story

The Cedar Key clam farming industry is receiving widespread attention as the University of Florida selected its story to showcase in their new campaign – For the Gator Good. Community and industry leaders were interviewed this summer and are featured in a story entitled When a Town’s Industry Shuts Down, Does the World Have to End? Continue reading

A Strong El Niño is Predicted This Winter

Daily interactions between our oceans and atmosphere help shape the weather and climate we experience on Earth. However, naturally-occurring events such as El Niño can alter these interactions resulting in dramatic shifts in weather patterns across the globe. El Niño, also known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation, is characterized by periods of warmer tropical surface waters in the Pacific Ocean. El Niño episodes usually occur every three to seven years, but the last major El Niño period occurred during the 1997-1998 season. Continue reading

Restoring Oyster Reefs in the Big Bend Provides Many Benefits

Oysters thrive under brackish conditions, and now a University of Florida (UF) study reveals that the bivalves can actually help create the mix of fresh water and brine they crave. While evaluating a new method of restoring degraded oyster reefs, researchers confirmed an observation that Cedar Key oystermen have made for years – some oyster reefs act as natural dams, impounding fresh water that flows seaward from nearby creeks and rivers. The result – large areas of reduced-salinity water that help maintain near-shore estuarine habitats supporting oysters, sea grasses, juvenile game fish, and invertebrates important to the marine food chain as well as seafood production and recreational opportunities for people. “This finding could aid ecological and fishery restoration projects along Florida’s Big Bend Coast,” said project leader Peter Frederick, a professor with UF IFAS Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. Continue reading

UF IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station is Underway in Cedar Key

UF IFAS has a long history in research, teaching and extension programs in the Nature Coast (Big Bend) region. These previous efforts have built a foundation on which the Nature Coast Biological Station (NCBS) will further develop the UF IFAS mission. Dr. Mike Allen, a professor of Fisheries and Aquatic Science whose research has focused on population dynamics and ecology of fishes, was appointed director of the NCBS. He is working to build the research, outreach, and teaching programs to improve conservation, management, and sustainability of natural resources in this region. Continue reading

Genetic Health of Wild and Cultured Florida Clam Stocks

So how much genetic diversity is present in hard clam hatchery stocks in Florida relative to the state’s wild populations? This was the focus of research conducted by Dr. James Austin and his doctoral student, John Hargrove, with the UF IFAS Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. In order to address this question, samples were collected from six commercial clam hatcheries along with four wild populations sourced from the east coast of Florida. A standardized set of genetic markers was used to test if there were significant differences among the various sources. Continue reading

Free Webinar – Growing Your Aquaculture Business: Is It Time to Expand or Diversify?

The National Aquaculture Association is hosting a free one-hour webinar, Growing Your Aquaculture Business: Is It Time to Expand or Diversify? on November 10th, which will discuss aquaculture business decisions as to whether it is time for the business to either expand or diversify into a new crop, a new product, or a new market. The focus of the webinar will be on the key factors that need to be considered to decide whether such steps would be economically advantageous for the aquaculture business. Continue reading

Results of 2014-15 ARC Projects Presented

Results of two 2014-15 Florida Aquaculture Projects, conducted by the Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Program in collaboration with other UF faculty and funded by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, were presented to the Aquaculture Review Council in Bartow on October 6.

Presentations of both projects can be accessed below as PDF files.

Evaluating the Efficacy of Several Net Coatings in Reducing Biofouling on Culture Gear and Increasing Hard Clam Production in Florida.pdf

“Green” Clams: Assessing, Quantifying, and Promoting the Value of Ecosystem Services Provided by the Florida Hard Clam Aquaculture Industry.pdf

Florida Clams Website is Launched

The Florida Clams website was developed by the UF IFAS Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Program, in partnership with the Florida shellfish aquaculture industry, to promote cultured clams as an environmentally friendly and sustainable seafood product. With funding provided by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Aquaculture, the site informs buyers, consumers, and resource managers on how clams are grown, environmental benefits of the industry, where to buy clams, how to buy and prepare clams, and much more.

To visit this new website, go to