Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Shellfish Jobs Job Opportunity RI

Rhode Island

We are looking for a new Manager to work mainly within the Processing side of our Shellfish Operation in North Kingstown, RI. But also be exposed to the Farming side in hopes to learn and grow with our Companies. See the short description below and if interested, please feel free to contact me at adam@americanmussel.com. This is for a full time job, not just the Summer Season.
Adam Silkes
Shore Side Captain:
Shellfish farming and processing organization seeking applicants for a Shore Side Captain position.  The purpose of this role is to insure the proper handling of shellfish from farm to processing to final product.  Shore Side Captain would supervise 6 to 10 employees that are responsible for processing, cleaning, and managing inventories for both oysters and mussels coming from multiple farming operations.  Some work on boats/farms required.  Environment is wet and dirty, cold in the winter.  English & Spanish speaking a definite plus.  Hours would be 11AM to 8PM Monday through Friday with 1 hour for break each day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Northeastern Grad Student Using Mass Oysters Recycled Shell for Research in Ipswich

We were pleased to provide recycled shell to support oyster research by Northeastern's Chris Baillie who is a grad student in the Grabowski Lab.

Here is his summary of his project.

I am a doctoral student at Northeastern University's Marine Science Center in my third year. My research interests include invasive species ecology, restoration ecology,and predator-prey interactions. One of the projects which will be included in my dissertation focuses on the dynamics of intertidal oyster reef evolution in the Northeast U.S. and the impacts of invasive species on the processes regulating success. I am conducting this research in Ipswich, using oyster mats (oysters zip-tied to vexar mats) places across different depths in the intertidal to investigate the effects of intertidal elevation, which influences the time oysters spend submerged throughout the tidal cycle, on mortality and growth of naturally recruited oysters.

Mass Oyster Recycled Shell for Oyster Restoration
Recycled Shell in Ipswich to collect oyster spat.

I am also including predator exclusion treatments to investigate the amount of mortality attributable to predation events. I am particularly interested in how invasive species, such as the green crab and Asian shore crab, influence oyster mortality. 

Aged recycled shell for oyster restoration
Mass Oyster's 2014 crop of recycled shell for oyster restoration

Hopefully my results will provide information that will inform restoration efforts in the Northeast and potentially help identify potential depth hotspots for restoration efforts in the Northeast. The oyster shell used provided by Massachusetts Oyster Project, which has been sun-weathered to eliminate any invasive species or detrimental encrusting organisms, has been very helpful for the construction of these oyster mats. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Massachusetts Oyster Project for contributing this shell and their continued efforts to make sure that oyster shell, a valuable substrate for experiments and restoration, is put to good use and does not end up in the garbage.
Recycled Shell User
Chris Baillie  Oyster Researcher and Northeastern Grad Student

You can see his bio here.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Key Capecod Shellfish Hatchery to be Saved Through Community Investment

The preservation of the ARC hatchery is good news for the state's shellfish industry. The original story can be found here.

Fishermen’s Alliance To Invest In Regional Shellfish Hatchery

Story and photos by Tim Wood
DENNIS --- When John Pappalardo brought the idea of investing inAquaculture Research Corporation, the region’s largest supplier of seed shellfish, to the board of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, the initial response was “We don’t do shellfish.”
Pappalardo, the non-profit group’s CEO, responded by reminding board members that when fin fishing is slow, or fishermen get sidelined by closures, they traditionally turn to shellfishing to supplement their incomes.

“We all do shellfish,” Pappalardo said.

On Monday, a coalition of public and private agencies,including the Alliance, announced a nearly $5 million plan to preserve as conservation land 30 of the 39 acres owned by Aquaculture Research Corporation, better known on the Cape as ARC, as well as provide resources to allow the aging hatchery – the first of its kind in the country – to modernize and expand.

There isn’t a town on the Cape that doesn’t purchase shellfish seed from ARC’s facility at Chase Garden Creek on Chapin Beach Road in Dennis. The millions of tiny clams, oysters and scallops provide a harvest for both commercial and recreational shellfishermen that, because of changes in ecology and water quality, might not otherwise be there. ARC also provides seed to most of the Cape’s private aquaculture operations, which have an annual economic value of $12.5 million.
Chatham, which hosts the Cape’s most productive wild shellfishery, also buys seed from ARC which is grown and cared for in the town’s upwelling facility on Stage Harbor.

Bolstering the wild fishery with the seed helps sustain Chatham’s substantial commercial shellfish industry and gets it through periodic downturns, said Renee Gagne, Chatham’s shellfish constable. The town annually buys 2.5 million quahog, a quarter million bay scallop and 100,000 oyster seeds from ARC, funded through the town’s shellfish revolving fund.

“Quahog fishing is the backbone of our wild fishery,” Gagne said Monday. “When other fisheries fail, [commercial shellfishermen] rely on quahogs.”

Preserving ARC will boost the Cape’s economy and protecting the land around it preserves the region’s environment, State Senator Dan Wolf, D-Harwich, said at a press conference held Monday morning at Chapin’s Restaurant to announce the project.

“This represents one of the biggest conservation opportunities on the coast of Cape Cod,” he said, and is also “literally a seed of the future economy of Cape Cod,” helping to ensure the continuation of the thriving aquaculture and commercial shellfishing industries.

“It is a perfect project,” Wolf said. “It is what I call a win-winwin.”

Preserving ARC’s 39 acres of land will require $3 million for land purchases and conservation easements. The land extends from Cape Cod Bay to Chase Garden Creek and is adjacent to Chapin Beach. It includes a variety of habitats, including barrier beach, coastal dune and wetlands, and is across from Yarmouth’s Gray Beach. Thirty acres will be purchased and set aside as conservation property; the remaining nine acres, which houses the ARC facility and includes several clam growing lagoons, will be placed under a conservation restriction so that the only activity allowed there is the hatchery operation.

The state’s 2016 environmental bond bill will provide $1.5 million. The private Dennis Conservation Trust has committed $325,000 and the Nature Conservancy another$250,000. Massachusetts Conservation Land Credits will offset the cost of the project by $75,000.

Funding from three other public agencies is awaiting final approval. The Barnstable County budget that was set to be voted by the Assembly of Delegates Wednesday includes $250,000 for the project; Dennis town meeting will act on a $400,000 community preservation fund request on May 5; and Yarmouth’s town meeting will be asked to appropriate $200,000 in community preservation funds May 2. There are a lot of moving parts, Wolf commented, but he said he’s confident everything will fall into place and the project will move ahead.

Preserving the land is just one part of the project. The other aspect is preserving ARC so it can continue to meet 80 percent of the seed shellfish demand in Massachusetts. The facility, established in 1960, need modernizing andupgrading; it has operated at full capacity for the past four years and the demand continues to grow, said president Richard Kraus, one of three owners.

Agroup that includes the Fishermen’sAlliance, Wellfleet Shellfish Promotion and Tasting (SPAT) and private investors is raising $1.5 to $2 million to build a new hatchery, plans for which are on the drawing board, said ARC Chief Business Officer Rob Doane. The funds will be invested in ARC in exchange for a 92 percent stake in the company, with the current owners retaining the remaining 8 percent. There will be a new board of directors representing theinvestors which will control the company – Pappalardo said the Alliance would have a representative on the board – and new management will be put in place after the deal is completed. Doane said the current owners will stay on as employees to help with the transition.

The facility uses a considerable amount of energy to raise water temperatures to levels necessary for shellfish to spawn, and a long-term solution to make it more energy efficient and sustainable will be included in the plans, Doane said. An earlier plan to install a wind turbine met with opposition and was withdrawn.

The aim is to have the new facility built in time for the 2016 season, Doane said. An existing warehouse will remain on the property. Plans also call for including a shellfish research and education program as part of the new operation.

While ARC employes 18 people year round, the economic impact of a healthy shellfishing industry extends beyond the company. According to the Cape Cod Extension, there are 1,400 commercial shellfishermen on the Cape. Statewide, the aquaculture industry generated 909 jobs and was valued at $25.4 million in 2013, generating $45.5 million in economic activity. On the Cape, some 70 shellfish farms generate $12.5million annually.

The new facility will allowARC to double production of oyster, scallop and hard-shell clam seed. Currently, Kraus said, it turns out between 100 and 110 million seed a year. Inside the hatchery, wooden walkways over floor drains lead to several rooms containing large vats where shellfish spawn and millions of seeds grow. Technician examine the microscopic seed – some just a few days old – in a laboratory to ensure that they are healthy. Water quality is monitored constantly. In another room, algae, necessary to nourish the seed shellfish, is grown in dozens of seven-foot-tall glass vats surrounded by fluorescentlights to replicate sunlight.

Continued on Page 10
• Founded in 1960 in Dennis.
• Only commercial shellfish hatchery in Massachusetts.
• Full capacity output of 100-110 million shellfish seed annually.
• Species grown include American oyster, quahog, and bay scallop
ARC owner Dick Kraus explains how algae is grown in large tanks to provide food for the shellfish throughout the growth cycle.

Cape and Islands Senator Dan Wolf addresses a press conference announcing the plans to preserve the ARC operation Monday at Chapin’s Restaurant in Dennis.

Chatham Shellfish Constable Renee Gagne examines seed quahogs at the ARC facility in Dennis.

Shellfish Hatchery
Continued from Page 5
It’s an exacting process, Kraus explains. Juvenile oysters, for instance, develop a foot after about 12 day, settle to the bottom, and excrete a cement-like substance. Once they affix to something, they never move. Before that happens the seed are placed in a bins with powdered shells, which they attach to and can then be moved.

Shellfish naturally spawn in the summer, so it’s necessary to raise the temperature of water pumped in from Cape Cod Bay to 75 to 80 degrees. “We’re trying to replicate summer, Kraus said. Wellfleet Harbor is the only place in Massachusetts where oysters spawn in the wild, he added.

ARC also operates a satellite site on Stage Harbor in Chatham, but the lease on that facility runs out this year, Doane said. The company is investigating other locations along Nantucket Sound, preferable because of the good water quality and high water temperatures, including Wychmere Harbor in Harwich.

“We can’t meet the demand as it is now,” Doane said ofthe need for the new hatchery and additional facilities.

ARC also provides bags of broken shells that are soaked in the oyster spat, resulting in more than 10,000 oysters per bag. The bags are opened and the oysters spread in bays to try to recreate oyster reefs to help reduce nitrogen in the water; Falmouth and Mashpee are working on pilot projects using shellfish for nitrogen reduction.

Kraus, who started working at ARC in 1973, said it was the first commercial hatchery of its kind in the country and is still operated today much as it was when it was begun in 1960, before environmental regulations were in place that would not have allowed an industrial operation in the middle of a beach.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind site that probably can never be replicated again,” he said. “Certainly not on Cape Cod.”

SPAT will invest $125,000 in the new facility, the Alliance will contribute $250,000 with the remaining funds provided by private investors and bank loans. Pappalardo said it’s a natural evolution for theAlliance, which initially concentrated on the off-shore fishery and has since become involved with issues in state waters. The in-shore fishery seems a logical next step. The organization has also purchased fisheries permits to help maintain the culture of community-based commercial fishing on the Cape, and he sees investing in ARC as an extension of that. He said fund raising should be wrapped up in the new few months.

“Losing the hatchery is not an option,” he said. “This is our future, so we’ll have an answer when one fishery is in trouble – pick up a rake.”

A video detailing the project can be viewed at zygotedigitalfilms. wistia.com/medias/0us8a2rqv7.
Thirty of ARC’s 39 acres of waterfront property in Dennis will be set as aside as conservancy land in a public-private partnership announced Monday. The remaining land will be reserved for use as a shellfish hatchery and grow-out area.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Florida Officials Capital on Federal Dollars to Improve Indian River Lagoon with Oyster Restoration

We saw this update on work in Florida and continue to be impressed how Florida is capitalizing on Federal Funds to improve its environment with oyster restoration. They are also creating jobs. The original article can be found here.

An advisory board that suggests ways to improve the Indian River Lagoon signed off on $1.2 million in projects Wednesday.

Oyster Restoration Site Indian River Lagoon Florida
Map of Indian River Lagoon Florida

The Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program Advisory Board recommends how the program spends federal money from the Clean Water Act and money from the state lagoon specialty license plate sales.

Indian River Lagoon Environment For Oyster Restoration
Mangroves, like oysters provide shelter for other species enhancing the biodiversity and biomass within the Indian River Lagoon

The 12 projects they signed off on Wednesday include a $141,000 oyster reef restoration by Brevard Zoo and Brevard County. That project ranked the highest among the 12. "We're seeing 40 to 50 percent survival on the pilot reefs," Virginia Barker, interim director of Brevard's Natural Resources Management Department.The zoo and the county have been testing various methods of creating new oyster reefs.

Ranking second on the list is an $85,558 project by the University of Central Florida and Titusville to create a "living shoreline" restoration project in the city.

The project includes using oyster shell bags, smooth cordgrass and mangroves to create a living shoreline at a city park on Main Street.

The most expensive item on the list is a $283,961 project to provide stormwater treatment for an 18-acre drainage basin that now discharges runoff into the Halifax River in Volusia County.

The lagoon program's draft work plan still awaits approval from the St. Johns River Water Management District and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Those approvals are expected by June or July. The plan covers the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

The EPA will contribute half the $1.2 million. The other half comes from the Indian River Lagoon specialty license plate, the water management district or other funding partners.

Local officials also want the Florida Legislature to spend $46 million this year on the Indian River Lagoon for projects within Brevard County, double what state lawmakers provided last year.
About $25 million would go toward dredging muck. Other projects would reduce runoff and groundwater pollution, and help to restore oysters and clams.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Changes at Key Oyster Hatchery Preserve Mass Oyster Restoration Resource

Several times Mass Oyster has drawn ont he expertise and output of Dennis-based Aquaultural Resource Corporation (ARC) for seed or spat on shell. The people there have been wonderful to work with and supportive of our work in oyster restoration. 

The organization is undergoing some exciting changes. The first part of which is the sale of a conservation restriction on our 39.7 acres of property and then a transfer of approximately 30 acres into the ownership of the Town of Dennis for conservation purposes.  Then the second part of the plan is to completely rehab our hatchery - demolition and rebuild from the ground up.

Here is a nice video discussing its history and importance to the oyster industry.  It is a beautiful spot.