NCCOS Promotes Shellfish Aquaculture to Improve Water Quality
Researchers are exploring the role oyster aquaculture may be playing in improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. On July 16, 17, and 23, 2014, the researchers made visits to three Chesapeake Bay oyster growers to discuss their culture practices, to view their lease areas, and to share information about this joint project.
The project also involves development of an aquaculture business planning process to assist growers with financial projections, and determining farm sizes to meet individual financial goals. With a modeling component, the project explores the potential to monetize the nutrient removal via oyster filtration and harvest for possible inclusion in a proposed “nutrient trading” program through which they could receive compensation from Federal Programs for implementing practices that reduce nutrient concentrations. While compensation for ‘ecosystem services’ provided by oysters (i.e. clearing of turbidity and removal of nutrients directly from the water via filtration) has been discussed for several years, at present, no accepted standard value exists for calculation of compensation.
The project, a collaboration between the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) and the University of Maryland, is designed to promote aquaculture production and to provide data and information needed to include growers in the developing nutrient trading program within Chesapeake Bay.