The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium announces the publication of “The Gulf of Mexico Shellfish Initiative: Stakeholder Feedback.”
The report summarizes regional and state-specific concerns that stakeholders identified through a series of 10 face-to-face input session across the Gulf, an online survey and personal communication with the initiative’s coordinator, Beth Walton.
“It’s been fantastic to meet and listen to so many people interested in shellfish from across the Gulf," Walton said. "As we move forward, we are excited to work together to put the Gulf of Mexico Shellfish Initiative in action.”
The report identifies what stakeholders in each state feel that their vision for shellfish is, what is going well, what isn’t going well and what a successful shellfish future would look like. Gulfwide, the most stakeholders said aquaculture efforts and funding opportunities were going well. They said salinity changes and regulation and enforcement issues were not going well.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration established the National Shellfish Initiative in partnership with shellfish farmers and shellfish restoration organizations with the goal to increase populations of bivalve shellfish in our nation’s coastal waters. The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission provided funding to the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium to create the nation’s first regional shellfish initiative in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Gulf of Mexico Shellfish Initiative team engaged a broad range of stakeholders including shellfish farmers, shellfish harvesters, environmental organizations, state and local management agencies, foundations, and others to identify strategies to be implemented in the future to ensure sustainable shellfish populations for current and future generations.
The Stakeholder Feedback report will be used to leverage support for future projects, secure funding for shellfish enhancement, and guide management efforts on a regional basis along the Gulf coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
You can read the report here.