WTNH Channel 8 news broadcast a story about Connecticut Sea Grant’s shell recycling initiative on its April 19 show. CTSG’s Tessa Getchis, aquaculture extension specialist, and Michael Gilman, shell recycling coordinator, were interviewed for the piece, titled “Connecticut oyster recycling program reinvigorates reefs.”
In attempt to meet the increased demand for seaweed, aquaculture producers are working to expand the North American seaweed farming industry. However, efforts to strengthen the industry have highlighted the need to address emerging challenges. “Processing capabilities, long term nursery production, and competition with imports” are among the most prevalent concerns says Anoushka Concepcion, an Extension educator with Connecticut Sea Grant. Concepcion is leading the National Seaweed Hub, a collaborative effort of 11 Sea Grant programs in the United States addressing the needs of the seaweed industry.
Check out the Aquaculture North America issue to learn more about how educators, researchers, farmers, and engineers are collaborating to create a sustainable kelp industry. The issue is available at s.uconn.edu/aquaculture-mag
Post by Connecticut Sea Grant
Connecticut Sea Grant’s 2022 Annual Report is now available as a downloadable pdf. It offers highlights of CTSG’s accomplishments for the 2021-22 Sea Grant fiscal year, which runs from February 2021 through January 2022. The annual report features information about CTSG’s budget and summaries of projects and programs in: fisheries and aquaculture; workforce development; resilient communities; environmental literacy; coastal ecosystems and watershed; and research, presented alongside multiple engaging images showcasing our work.
Click here to download the report.
Article by Connecticut Sea Grant
Empty oyster and clam shells from Long Island Sound shouldn’t be treated like trash.
They are vital components of healthy habitat for shellfish and other marine life, and need to be returned to their watery home instead of being hauled away with other garbage. That’s the message shell recycling advocates are advancing as part of a new statewide initiative.
“Virtually all the shell that goes to restaurants and markets is being discarded,” said Tessa Getchis, aquaculture extension specialist for CT Sea Grant and UConn Extension. “Connecticut is in the rare position of having some of the few self-sustaining populations of oyster beds in the world. We need to get that shell back in the water so that healthy beds remain productive, and so we can rebuild those in suboptimal condition.”
At 7:30 p.m. on April 4, Getchis will give a presentation on the history of the Connecticut oyster beds and the state’s efforts to restore this critical habitat, and UConn Marine Sciences Professor Zofia Baumann will follow with an overview of her efforts to develop a shell recycling program in the town of Groton. The shell recycling initiative is being launched as part of a broader effort to restore the state’s natural shellfish beds to preserve and enhance their vital economic, environmental and cultural contributions.
The program at the UConn Avery Point campus, titled, “Ensuring the Future Viability of Connecticut’s Natural Oyster Beds,” is part of the annual Coastal Perspectives public lecture series held in the campus auditorium. Admission is free, and the program can also be accessed virtually.
The Fall-Winter 2022-2023 issue of Wrack Lines is filled with articles and images telling stories around the theme of “Looking Ahead: people and projects shaping the future.”
The magazine leads with the first in what will be a series of articles about offshore wind development impacting Connecticut, followed by the inspiring story of how a dying forest was replanted for climate resilience. Next, a profile of longtime marine educator Tim Visel tells about his lasting impact on Connecticut schools and students. Lastly, the complex challenge of dealing with Contaminants of Emerging Concern is examined, with descriptions of how Sea Grant is involved and the particularly troublesome group of substances called PFAS.
Individual articles can be found below:
Original Publication by CT Sea Grant: https://seagrant.uconn.edu/?p=9850
Regional Aquaculture Liaison Assistant Extension Educator
Sustainable and Resilient Communities Assistant Extension Educator
Connecticut Sea Grant invites applications for two Sustainable and Resilient Communities Assistant Extension Educators. The positions are part of an initiative to implement a five-year work plan on Sustainable and Resilient Communities, under the umbrella of the Sustainable and Resilient Communities work group of the EPA-funded Long Island Sound Study (LISS). The full advertisement, job description and link for applications can be found at https://academicjobsonline.
Stratford – Gov. Ned Lamont joined legislators, state officials, agricultural advocates and business representatives on July 23 for a bill signing ceremony near the shore of the Long Island Sound to commemorate the enactment of legislation implementing policies that will support continued growth of Connecticut’s shellfish industry in an effort to increase the populations of oysters along the state’s shoreline and protect the sustainability of this vibrant sector of the economy.
The shellfish industry is a significant sector of the Connecticut shoreline’s economy, generating more than $30 million in sales annually and supporting 300 jobs statewide. There are currently more than 70,000 acres of shellfish farms under cultivation in Connecticut.
- extends Public Act 490 protections – which were adopted more than 50 years ago and allow landowners to have their qualifying lands classified as farms and thereby subject to reduced property tax rates – to include aquaculture operations;
- allows more flexibility to actively manage the natural oyster beds in Long Island Sound, ensuring that Connecticut oysters will be available for future generations through better management of the natural beds; and
- reconstitutes and expands the Connecticut Seafood Council with new membership to drive the industry forward.
It received overwhelming support from business and agriculture organizations across the state, including the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, the Connecticut chapter of the National Audubon Society, the Connecticut Restaurant Association, and numerous small business leaders that depend on the sustainability of Connecticut’s aquaculture to support their operations.
“Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing sectors in Connecticut, and this legislation continues to move the dial on this industry receiving some of the same protections and support that land farmers receive,” Gov. Lamont said. “My administration will continue focusing on commonsense changes like these that business owners in Connecticut deserve. I look forward to seeing this already great industry continue to grow. Let’s spread the word far and wide, Connecticut has some of the best oysters around.”
“This law ensures that the future for the industry is prosperous and encompassing of all the types of aquaculture industry in our state, including seaweed and indoor production,” Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt said. “The law also establishes parity and access to the property tax relief program, Public Act 490, to include aquaculture production, further ingraining this industry as a facet of Connecticut agriculture. Many thanks to the industry, the Connecticut Farm Bureau, and UConn Sea Grant for their partnership and commitment to this proposal and the future of the aquaculture in our state.”
“On behalf of its members and aquaculture farmers, the Connecticut Farm Bureau thanks Gov. Lamont and the legislature for their support of this very important legislation,” Connecticut Farm Bureau President Paul Larson and Executive Director Joan Nichols said in a joint statement. “This legislation provides both financial relief and equity in taxation for aquaculture farmers across Connecticut by expanding Public Act 490 to include aquaculture into the state’s definition of farmland.”
The governor noted that shellfish aquaculture also provides a number of environmental benefits, including by improving sediment quality through the harvesting process, stabilizing sediments and helping to protect the shoreline from erosion, and providing critical ecosystem functions by creating structure and habitat for other species that provide a food source for fish and other marine species.
The legislation is Public Act 21-24, An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Shellfish Restoration Program, The Connecticut Seafood Council and the Taxation of Certain Underwater Farmlands.
The Spring-Summer 2021 issue of Wrack Lines examines actions that grew from different crises, from the pandemic to sea level rise to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.
The issue leads off with an article by Robert Klee, former commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, reflecting on the valuable lessons we can take from the pandemic to improve the environment and our communities. Other articles describe how Connecticut’s seafood growers, harvesters and sellers weathered the pandemic, and how their counterparts in Southeast Asia fared.
Two more articles examine the slower-moving crises of sea level rise in coastal and inland communities in Connecticut and North Carolina and the role of managed retreat or buyouts. The final piece showcases the research of Connecticut Sea Grant Director Sylvain De Guise on dolphins experiencing long-term impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
The entire issue can be found here.
Articles in this issue:
This issue continues the “Talk to Us” feature soliciting reader comments, many of which will be shared on the CTSG website. Share your feedback and questions with Wrack Lines Editor Judy Benson at: email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!
These native bivalves help keep the Sound clean by filtering excess nutrients and shoring up shorelines with colonies that create structure and buffer wave action, while also creating habitat for juvenile fish and other marine life. Plus, they provide a nutritious human food source for commercial and recreational shellfishermen to harvest.
With the shared belief that more is better when it comes to oysters, diverse groups have come together to find areas to expand the presence of these shellfish in the Sound. While each group’s main motivations may differ—from habitat restoration to improving water quality to growing the state’s shellfish industry—the common goal of achieving a healthier Sound through oyster restoration projects has led to the creation of a new online tool to advance that aim.