As we turn the calendar to a new year, there is little time to pause and think about 2017 here at Sea Grant. While it’s easy to rattle off a list of accomplishments and projects completed across the country by the team of folks that I work with, I am most struck by the pictures and stories of Sea Grant efforts during very difficult times in the communities we are fortunate to support.
Whether responding to flood stricken areas or cleaning up after the hurricanes that impacted our coasts, it was refreshing to see the effort by all involved. Here in our local Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant office in Mobile, we started off the new year talking about better ways to build resilience in our oyster-farming communities through preparedness planning and better communication.
There is much to do.
That being said, 2018 is here and there are many goings-on that anyone interested in oyster aquaculture should check out.
Here are a few:
- The 5th and final Alabama Oyster Social will be on Saturday, January 27, from 3 to 6 p.m. in Auburn, Alabama. This is a great time and a fund-raiser for Alabama oyster farmers.
- The 2nd Annual Oyster South Symposium will be on Friday and Saturday, February 9 and 10, in Charleston, S.C. This is a meeting to bring together producers, gear suppliers, distributors, chefs, food writers, vendors, researchers, students and managers from the southeast region to discuss pressing issues and relevant, practical research on oyster aquaculture. You can purchase tickets here.
- An Alabama oyster farming website has been launched. A team, led by Commissioner Chris Blankenship of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, collaborated to build the site with information about commercial oyster farming in Alabama. Please contact me directly with any questions you might have.
Some other quick updates:
- Oyster Gardening comes to Mississippi. The long-running and successful oyster gardening program in Alabama has now expanded to Mississippi. Here are the details on the Mississippi Oyster Gardening Program.
- Oyster farming is moving ahead in Mississippi. With a unanimous vote by the Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources, the Deer Island oyster farming area was approved on November 21, 2017. While final permits are being obtained, this approval positions the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to offer a training program for commercial oyster farmers in Mississippi beginning in the summer of 2018. If you are interested in learning more about this program, contact Jason Rider.
- And finally, we will be sending out our Alabama oyster farming survey for 2017 in February. From the results we will publish the 2017 Situation & Outlook report on the industry so stay tuned! Here is info on the 2016 report.