Integrated program expands oyster farming industry in Alabama
The Gulf Coast oyster industry has suffered a number of setbacks, both natural and manmade, that are challenging an industry built around inexpensive, plentiful oysters. Off-bottom oyster farming for the high-value, half-shell niche market provides an opportunity for Gulf residents to create jobs, provide high quality oysters for the marketplace and improves the environment.
Sea Grant-funded scientists, extension staff and legal staff created an integrated program utilizing translational research and outreach programs on production methods and best management practices.
Based on a situation and outlook survey of 2016 farms, nine of 13 permitted farms reported 18.1 acres of production with total annual sales of almost $2 million. More than 2.8 million oysters were produced on 18.1 acres. The nine farms who responded to the survey employed 20 full time employees and 10 part-time employees.
The Alabama oyster farming industry is valued at $2,000,000 per year and employs more than 30 people. (2016)