An outgrowth of the NC Coastal Federation oyster restoration initiative, this project led by Todd Miller of the NC Coastal Federation, Susan White of the NC Sea Grant, and Charles Peterson of the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences continues to build and promote the fledgling oyster aquaculture industry by informing state and local policies that support growers and outline proven management approaches, providing training, reducing barriers, and promoting local products. In 201 9-20, the project completed the second year of work to develop a much-needed strategic plan to grow shellfish farming to a $100 million industry by 2030 along the North Carolina coast, combining science and management with best practices from other states to position NC’s shellfish mariculture industry for success.
The North Carolina Strategic Plan for Shellfish Mariculture: A Vision to 2030 continues to be distributed and used as a basis for future action. The Coastal Federation is partnering with the Kenan Fellows Program to host Kenan Fellow Erin Strohschein in 2020. Erin is working with NCCF Education Program Coordinator Rachel Bisesi, along with the Beaufort Boys and Girls Club and the Smyrna Elementary and Down East Middle School, to create STEM learning kits for a variety of coastal science activities, like an activities guide, which lays out science exercises involving oysters, estuaries and living shorelines, water quality and marine debris and litter.
Karley Eason, a student intern from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, also assisted in this effort. In September 2020, the North Carolina Coastal Federation, in partnership with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, has been recommended for funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to add 15 acres of new oyster reef habitat in Pamlico Sound. This large-scale, $2,250,000 project expands on the state’s significant investment in oyster restoration and will benefit not only oysters but also coastal species such as gag grouper and white, brown, and pink shrimp.