2013 Census of Aquaculture Released by USDA

The 2013 Census of Aquaculture was recently released by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The report provides value of sales for a variety of aquaculture products by type (e.g., mollusks) and species. Due to recent advances in the industry, Florida ranked fourth in the nation in sales value of molluscan shellfish products ($19.6 million), falling behind Washington ($149.3 million), Virginia ($41.5 million), and Connecticut ($28.3 million). Continue reading

Sunray Venus Clams on the JSR Cover

Over the past seven years, the culture and market potential of the sunray venus clam has been examined. The existence of a latent market and potential growth rate of this native bivalve made it a logical choice to diversify the Florida hard clam industry. To increase awareness of this new culture species, sunray venus clams have been featured at culinary demonstrations, consumer acceptance trials, and seafood shows. Continue reading

Welcome Dr. Huiping Yang to UF!

On July 1, Dr. Huiping Yang joins the University of Florida as an Assistant Professor of Molluscan Shellfish Aquaculture. Dr. Yang will be located in Gainesville with the SFRC Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program, and will also work at culture facilities in Cedar Key. Continue reading

Northeast Florida Oyster Research

Oyster habitat

An informal meeting was initiated by the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve at Ponte Vedra Beach on May 30th to begin a dialogue on oyster research needs and expectations in northwest Florida. The objectives of the meeting were to allow representatives from state agencies, academia, and others interested in prioritizing research questions, aligning everyone’s expertise and interests with priority research questions, and discussing the potential formation of a regional oyster working group and/or a regular symposium. Continue reading

Clam Research Projects Funded for 2014-15

FL ARC

An annual responsibility of the Aquaculture Review Council (ARC) is to evaluate and rank research projects that have been submitted to the Council through a formal solicitation process. The Council recommended 10 selected projects for funding consideration in the fiscal year 2014-15. Recently, the DACS Division of Aquaculture announced that the Governor included $755,820 in his budget to support these projects, which will enhance farm productivity, technology, job creation and sales. Two of these projects address research priorities identified by the Council for clam culture. Continue reading

Project VENUS Gets Underway

The growth of the Florida shellfish culture industry is a dramatic success story. However, the industry is built on a single clam species—the hard clam. Development of alternative culture species and farming technology represents an important gain over the present reliance on a single species crop. During the past seven years, researchers at UF IFAS and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University (HBOI-FAU) supported by Florida Sea Grant have evaluated the culture and market potential of the sunray venus clam, an attractive native clam. Consumer acceptance and marketing studies have found that these clams rate highly as a potential addition to existing product lines and suggest strong market demand exists. Continue reading

Oyster Culture Workshops – DVDs Available

Co-hosted by the UF Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Program and DACS Division of Aquaculture, three workshops have been held to provide current information about oyster aquaculture. Topics introduced in the first set of workshops were an overview of U.S. East Coast intensive oyster culture operations and Florida’s experiences; rules of the road—conversion of shellfish aquaculture leases to water column usage, navigational marking requirements, BMPs pertaining to seed sources, and public health regulations for oyster harvesting and processing; and, a look at off-bottom oyster farming gear and methods being developed by Auburn University for the northern Gulf of Mexico. Continue reading

NOAA Releases Forecast for 2014 Hurricane Season

Written by Thomas Ruppert, Florida Sea Grant

On May 22, 2014, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its predictions for the Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1. Continue reading

Shellfish Harvester Educational Training Program

As of January 2014, the National Sanitation Shellfish Program’s (NSSP) Model Ordinance was modified to include new food safety training requirements. These changes initiated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are outlined in NSSP Guide Section II, Model Ordinance Chapter X. Under the new mandate, shellfish harvesters, shellfish growers, authorized users, or anyone working on an aquaculture lease must participate in an approved training program on processing, handling, and transportation practices prior to certification, recertification, or licensing. Continue reading

Lease Expansion in Levy County: Update

On April 28, a survey committee selected George F. Young Inc. to proceed with surveying and marking the Dog Island and Corrigan’s Reef Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Expansions in the vicinity of Cedar Key, Levy County. It is anticipated that the field work will be completed by mid-June. Continue reading