Researchers are exploring the role oyster aquaculture may beplaying in improvingwater 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 thisjoint project.
The project also involves development of an aquaculture business planning processto assist growers with financial projections, and determining farm sizes to meet individual financial goals. Witha 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 discussedfor several years, at present, no accepted standard value existsfor calculation of compensation.
The project, a collaboration between theNational Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS)and the University of Maryland, is designed to promoteaquaculture production and to provide data and information needed to include growers in the developing nutrient trading program within Chesapeake Bay.