NCCOSscientist Suzanne Bricker, along with project partner Matt Parker, aMaryland Sea Grant Aquaculture Business Specialist, kicked off their Shellfish Aquaculture and Payment for Ecosystem Services in Chesapeake Bay project on May 23 with the first sample collection. Collaborating with shellfishgrowers, this work willpromote aquaculture production and provide data and information from different oyster cultivation practices needed to include growers in the developing nutrient trading program within Chesapeake Bay.
Six Maryland oyster growers from around the Chesapeake Bayare involved withthe project, providing monthly access to their lease areas and oysters for growth measurements for the year-long sampling effort. Nutrients are removed from the water through oyster growth and harvest and will be quantified by application of a model using the measured water quality and oyster growth data. The nutrient removal represents an ecosystem service that might provide a farmer additional income in a nutrient credit trading program since the value of the removed nitrogen can be determined as an avoided cost of additional water treatment by traditional measures.
This project supports both regional nutrient water quality management programs and provides tools for broader application nationally. Additionally, it could stimulate seafood production and create jobs through the expansion of aquaculture activities.
For more information, please contact Suzanne Bricker.