NC Coastal Federation Aquaculture Project


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 seeks to continue to build and prepare the fledgling oyster aquaculture industry both by supporting state and local policies that support growers and outline proven management approaches, by providing training, reducing barriers, promoting local products.

After years of declines in coastal environmental quality along the N.C. coast, the North Carolina Coastal Federation and North Carolina Sea Grant received funding from the Kenan Institute to devise an economic strategy that would use environmental restoration as an economic development tool. The strategy was presented at an economic summit held in Raleigh on March 22 and 23, 2017. At the foundation of this strategy is the need to expand aquaculture for oysters and finfish to provide the catalyst for a broader and coordinated environmental restoration program along the entire coast.

Aquaculture plans for shellfish and for finfish would support these important industries. Development of a successful aquaculture strategy for North Carolina requires not only the active participation the Coastal Federation and Sea Grant, but also lawmakers, federal, state and local agencies, regulatory commissions, shellfish growers, commercial and recreational fishermen, academics, tourism officials, social scientists and business development experts. The Coastal Federation is currently working actively with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and the N.C. General Assembly to engage these critical stakeholders in the development of the plan.

The N.C. General Assembly has already charged the new UNC Policy Collaboratory to study shellfish aquaculture needs and report those needs to lawmakers by December 31, 2018. Dr. Charles Peterson is working with the UNC Policy Collaboratory and will be responsible for helping to coordinate its work with this project. The Coastal Federation and Sea Grant are working to develop an aquaculture demonstration site at the federation’s office in Wanchese, N.C., to demonstrate various aquaculture techniques to fishermen and provide guidance on launching new operations and improving existing ones. The goal of this project is to support the development of the plan and better enable the Coastal Federation and Sea Grant to more effectively leverage their organizational resources behind this effort.