Sea Grant Aquaculture Extension 2010: Evaluation of Innovative Practices for Aquaculture Development
Principal Investigator:Douglas Lipton
Start/End Year:2010 to 2013
Institution:Maryland Sea Grant
Strategic focus area:Sustainable natural resources of coastal Maryland
Objectives: The goal of this project is to expand and accelerate the adoption of aquaculture practices in Maryland, the Mid-Atlantic Region, and nationally by accomplishing the following objectives:1) Evaluate the concept of Aquaculture Enterprise Zones being adopted in Maryland to determine its effectiveness and potential for adoption in other regions.2) Work with the Oyster Recovery Partnership, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and groups of Maryland watermen to develop and test the concept of Industry Reserve Production Cooperatives. 3) Provide information to policymakers about the role of aquaculture in emerging ecosystem service markets such as Chesapeake Bay nutrient trading markets. 4) Conduct an applied analysis that incorporates emerging ecosystem service markets into aquaculture business models with an emphasis on oyster aquaculture but with application to other shellfish as well as aquatic plant culture. Methodology: This project provides complimentary support to an existing team of aquaculture specialists and extension agents in Maryland working to support the development of shellfish aquaculture on a broad scale. An aquaculture specialist will be employed for a three year period to develop and evaluate innovative business practices and policies that can accelerate the development of Maryland's industry, but also be adopted in other regions. The specialist will collect data on leasing practices, industry structure and performance and will analyze these to determine best practices and policy recommendations. The addition of the specialist provides an adaptive management component to the strategy to develop the shellfish aquaculture industry. Additionally, the specialist will adapt existing approaches to development of nutrient credit markets to recommend policy related to nutrient trading for shellfish aquaculture. Rationale: While world aquaculture production has accelerated, U.S. production has remained relatively stagnant. National policies encourage aquaculture, but it is often local conditions, including environmental, existing laws and regulations, cultural attitudes, and other factors that determine whether aquaculture will develop successfully in a region. In Maryland, there exists a strong team of specialists and agents with the technical knowledge to assist in the development of shellfish aquaculture. The additional capacity will enhance the team effort by addressing these potential roadblocks to industry development in a strong partnership with state and local governments, agencies and industry members.