Narragansett Bay Recovers from Algal Bloom, Shellfish Safe

By Meredith Haas, January 7, 2017
An unprecedented algal bloom that spanned from Long Island to Maine triggered a shellfishing ban in Narragansett Bay for most of October. After it ended and shellfish beds reopened, fishermen, shellfish farmers, and environmental managers convened at a public meeting in December to try to understand what caused the bloom and what to do about future events.

Monitors found elevated counts of a type of plankton that was responsible for the bloom outside of Newport Harbor at the end of September, said Angelo Liberti, chief of water resources at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), at the meeting held to share information that DEM and the state health department collected during the bloom, and to discuss future monitoring and testing efforts.

Liberti was referring to Pseudo-nitzschia, a genus of plankton that can produce domoic acid, a neurotoxin that, if ingested in dangerous amounts, can cause illnesses ranging from gastrointestinal problems and lethargy to short-term memory loss…..

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Registration open for the Applied Shellfish Farming Course at RWU

The Roger Williams University Center for Economic and Environmental Development is now enrolling students for Applied Shellfish Farming, a non-credit course offered during the winter/spring semester that teaches both aspiring shellfish farmers and aquaculture professionals the ins and outs of commercially growing oysters, quahogs, scallops and mussels.

The 14-week program, led by Dale Leavitt, aquaculture extension specialist and Professor of Marine Biology at Roger Williams University, is designed to aid new and experienced shellfish farmers to start or grow their shellfish farming enterprise in Rhode Island and other areas of Southern New England.

Topics in the course include: an overview of shellfish farming, shellfish biology, farm site selection, the permitting process and regulatory aspects of securing and maintaining a lease, an overview of shellfish nursery and grow-out systems, risk management strategies, other technical aspects of shellfish farming, and business and marketing management advice. Dr. Leavitt complements the class with mentoring and site visits, remains in contact with many participants, and advises shellfish farmers nationwide.

CRMC considers the course an unofficial requirement for prospective shellfish farmers. Aspects of the course are also required for individuals wishing to apply for a Recreational Aquaculture Permit in Rhode Island (For more information about the Recreational Aquaculture Permit, contact Dale Leavitt at dleavitt@rwu.edu).

The course will be held at the University’s Bristol campus on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 10 and continuing Tuesday evenings through April 25. This year, the course also will be offered as an on-line webinar, available to anyone with Internet access. More details will be forthcoming on how to sign up for the webinar. If you are interested, please contact Dale Leavitt at dleavitt@rwu.edu.

Pre-registration is preferred by contacting Cheryl Francis at (401) 254-3110 or cfrancis@rwu.edu. For more details on the on-line version, please contact Dale Leavitt at dleavitt@rwu.edu.

Link to course announcements and schedule:

RWU_shellfish_farming_course-announcement

Webinar—Understanding the 5% Rule for the Coastal Salt Ponds

WEBINAR: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 from 4:00-5:00PM

“Understanding the 5% Rule for the Coastal Salt Ponds” – Participate in this free, interactive Webinar, from your computer at home! Learn from those who were involved in shaping the 5% Rule for aquaculture in Rhode Island’s coastal salt ponds. The rule states that no more than 5 percent of the salt pond area can be used for aquaculture. Hear the details about the science, policy, and decision-making that was involved to set the rule.
Presented by retired URI Professor David Bengston. Prof. Bengston was a member of the working group that convened in 2007 to determine the 5% Rule.

Prof. Bengston will explain the original process with the goal of giving webinar participants a clear understanding of why the rule exists. The intention is to allow an open forum of knowledge and experience sharing so as to be better informed about what the rule is and is not.

The recorded webinar and a summary document will be posted online at:
http://www.appliedshellfishfarming.org/aquaculture-education-for-the-public/

For more information, please contact Azure@crc.uri.edu