CT Shellfish

Registration open for 2024 shellfish farming course

The 2024  “Foundations of Shellfish Farming” course will be offered at the UConn Avery Point campus over 12 weeks starting Jan. 16.

The classes will meet on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. through April 2 in Room 312 of the Lowell P. Weicker Jr. Building. Registration is now open and financial aid is available. shellfish

“Foundations of Shellfish Farming” is a training course for new and prospective farmers and those who simply seek to learn more about aquaculture practices and techniques. Topics that will be covered include how to establish and operate a shellfish business; leasing and permitting requirements; considerations for gear, vessels, and facilities, shellfish biology, aquaculture techniques and best practices, and risks involved in farming shellfish.

Although the course will concentrate on Long Island Sound waters within the jurisdiction of Connecticut, the topics and practices covered are applicable in the Northeast United States and potentially beyond.  

Instructors: Michael Gilman and Tessa L. Getchis 

Outline: http://s.uconn.edu/course-schedule 

Registration: http://s.uconn.edu/shellfish  

Cost: $300 

Financial aid: Scholarship funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Preference will be given to underserved/underrepresented groups including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, followed by other students in financial need. If interested, contact us by email at shellfish@uconn.edu. Include your full name, company name (if applicable), and a statement explaining your request for financial aid. Please DO NOT register for the class. We will process registrations for all students receiving financial aid. 

  

Sponsors: Connecticut Sea Grant, UConn Extension, and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture 

  

*This course meets the Connecticut Department of Agriculture eligibility requirement for the submission of a Joint Agency Application for Marine Aquaculture.  

  

Additional questions, including requests for financial aid, can be emailed to: shellfish@uconn.edu 

A pdf of the flier can be downloaded here.

Getchis recognized with award for pandemic response efforts

Tessa Getchis shows samples of three species of shellfish found in Long Island Sound, clams, mussels and oysters.
Tessa Getchis shows samples of three species of shellfish found in Long Island Sound: clams, mussels and oysters. Judy Benson / CT Sea Grant

Connecticut Sea Grant Aquaculture Extension Specialist Tessa Getchis will receive a Service Excellence Award in the University of Connecticut chapter of the American Association of University Professors’ 2021 UConn-AAUP Excellence Awards.

The awards have been given annually since 1997 in six categories, and this year focused specifically on responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Getchis, who also holds the title of senior cooperative extension educator, is being recognized for her role in the various responses to the impact of pandemic shutdown on the state’s commercial shellfishing industry. This included a quick-turnaround survey done early in the shutdown to assess the economic fallout on shellfish farmers. That was followed by assistance programs that included: hiring commercial shellfish workers to rehabilitate the state’s natural shellfish beds; development of a website to share information about direct-to-consumer seafood markets; buybacks of oversized oysters; and assistance with applications for various government financial aid programs.

“We were able to provide some early relief to shellfishermen, and we’re really motivated to keep going, because this wasn’t a one-time impact,” Getchis said.

She stressed that the entire response would not have been possible without the contributions of colleagues at CT Sea Grant and the state Department of Agriculture Bureau of Aquaculture.

“It was and is a team effort,” she said.

CT Sea Grant Director Sylvain De Guise said the award is well deserved.

“It reflects on the recognition of her passion, teamwork, continued leadership and energy,” he said.

Her award will be given in a virtual ceremony on April 28. Also receiving a Service Excellence Award will be three assistant professors, Milagros Castillo-Montoya, Sharde Davis and David Embrick. Ten others will receive awards in teaching excellence, teaching innovation, research and creativity.

To read more about the pandemic response efforts, visit:

https://seagrant.uconn.edu/2020/10/30/shellfish-farmers-stay-afloat-with-innovation-financial-aid/

https://seagrant.uconn.edu/2020/06/04/project-expands-support-for-ct-shellfish-industry/

https://seagrant.uconn.edu/2020/03/26/response-launched-for-severely-impacted-aquaculture-sector/

Original Post

Amid pandemic challenges, recreational shellfishing thrived

By Judy Benson

Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

While the pandemic curtailed many favorite activities, recreational shellfishing remained popular and even surged in many shoreline towns last year.

“Clamming is a very COVID-friendly activity,” said Peter Harris, chairman of the Waterford-East Lyme Shellfish Commission. “You’re outside, you have a nice long rake so you stay socially distanced, and you get a nice food source.”

More than 500 shellfishing permits sold in 2020 for the WELSCO beds in the Niantic River – about the same number as in 2019, but COVID concerns did have an impact. One of the most popular areas had to be closed because too many boats were congregating there, creating a “party atmosphere” that wasn’t safe, he said. Finding a way to safely sell permits also proved challenging.

Similar stories of strong interest in shellfishing in 2020 along with unique challenges presented by the pandemic were heard from representatives of the 12 commissions that attended the Annual Meeting of Shellfish Commissions on Feb. 13. Usually conducted in-person, this year’s virtual meeting brought together about 35 of the volunteers who serve on municipal commissions along with scientists, regulators and extension specialists from the state Department of Agriculture Bureau of Aquaculture and Connecticut Sea Grant.

The experts presented updates on monitoring programs for the various pathogens that can cause illnesses and force shellfish bed closures, a review of water sampling protocols and in-person inspections of areas being considered for new bed openings.

“We can now assess mooring areas differently, and we may be able to create opportunities in some new areas,” said Alissa Dragan, environmental analyst at the Bureau of Aquaculture. “Our goal is to have one or two new areas opened in the next year.”

Before inviting each of the commissions to report on the past year, Tessa Getchis, aquaculture extension specialist at Connecticut Sea Grant, shared some of the projects underway or being considered to advance awareness and collaboration about recreational shellfishing. Those include the possible creation of an association of shellfish commissions and a shared online platform where members of different commissions could share information. An analysis of the impact of economic impact of recreational shellfishing is in the works, she added.

“We want to show how important the sector is and how important your work is,” she said.

Read more

Important Resources for Aquaculture Farmers

shellfish
Photo: Tessa Getchis

March 19, 2020

COVID AND SEAFOOD SAFETY – By the National Fisheries Institute, includes responses to specific questions, as well as four simple talking points. 

REGULATORY INFO FOR DIRECT SALES
Get the information you need to make direct sales in your community.

NEED HELP GETTING WORD OUT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA?
Are you trying to make sales in your community during COVID-19, email Tessa.Getchis@uconn.edu.

 

March 17, 2020
SHELLFISH SAMPLING
Per the Connecticut DA/BA, shellfish sampling will continue along the coast so that harvest areas may remain open. Email David Carey or call (203) 874-0696 with any questions.

March 13,2020
US SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION DISASTER ASSISTANCE
Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail

CONNECTICUT COVID-19 PORTAL

US CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL 

US DEPT OF STATE TRAVEL ADVISORIES

FREE ONLINE TRAINING IN AQUACULTURE

Content curated by Tessa Getchis, UConn Extension & CT Sea Grant