Rhode Island Aquaculture Initiative awards $600,000 to grow aquaculture in Rhode Island

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Rhode Island Aquaculture Initiative awards
$600,000 to grow aquaculture in Rhode Island

NARRAGANSETT — December 2, 2002 — In an attempt to elevate Rhode Island from last place among the 50 states in aquaculture production, Senator Jack Reed obtained $1.5 million for developing aquaculture in the Ocean State. The Rhode Island Aquaculture Initiative is directing $600,000 of that money toward aquaculture research and development in the state through a series of multi-year research grants and one-year “mini-grants.”

The initiative has awarded funding for projects that seek to improve the health and longevity of farmed shellfish, educate students and communities about aquaculture, address concerns about aquaculture’s effects on the environment, help researchers and aquaculturists access aquaculture data, and reduce conflicts between aquaculturists and traditional capture fishermen. These research grants represent one of several efforts by the initiative to promote aquaculture development in Rhode Island.

“Funding for new capacity-building projects and industry-relevant aquaculture research will help jump-start a new era of aquaculture development in Rhode Island—a place where everyone says our collective challenges are among the greatest anywhere—and help us become a world-class aquaculture research and development center,” says Barry Costa-Pierce, Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program director.

The Rhode Island Aquaculture Initiative is a unique collaboration that unites federal and state interests as well as academic, regulatory, and industry resources. Funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was awarded to the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), the state’s lead regulatory agency for aquaculture. CRMC, in turn, is enlisting Rhode Island Sea Grant, the University of Rhode Island, and Roger Williams University to administer the project.

For more information on the initiative, please visit http://seagrant.gso.uri.edu/research/rhodyaquaculture/rhodyaquaculture.html.


Rhode Island Aquaculture Initiative Multi-Year Research Grants

Peter August, URI natural resources science professor, received $149,983 over three years to enhance the Rhode Island Aquaculture and Fisheries Web page and Internet map server with up-to-date physical, chemical, and biological spatial data.

Bradford Bourque, of Roger Williams University, Harold Pomeroy, Roger Williams University biology professor, and Something Fishy, Inc. received $125,438 over three years to develop economically and environmentally sustainable land-based culture techniques for at least three species of marine ornamentals.

Graham Forrester, URI biological sciences associate professor, and Robert Rheault, Spatco, Ltd. President, received $100,028 over two years to evaluate the effects of aquaculture facilities on natural habitats and to describe the habitat values of shellfish aquaculture gear.

Marta Gomez-Chiarri, URI fisheries, animal, and veterinary science assistant professor, Roxanna Smolowitz, Marine Biological Laboratory researcher, and Tim Scott Roger Williams University Center for Economic and Environmental Development director, received $49,136 over three years to evaluate the presence of a parasite found in wild and farmed northern quahogs in Rhode Island and the potential effect of the disease on Rhode Island’s quahog industry.

Perry Raso, shellfish aquaculturist, and Alicia Thayer, South Kingstown High School teacher, received $82,405 over three years to educate over 1,700 students from Grade 6 through college about shellfish aquaculture and to promote community acceptance of aquaculture. In addition, students will be involved in a cutting-edge model aquaculture facility.

Tim Scott, Roger Williams University center for Economic and Environmental Development director, received $100,000 over three years to determine whether producing young seed clams in a hatchery and replanting them on public grounds will result in a greater harvest of adult clams in the future or will inadvertently attract predators to a productive bed.

Rhode Island Aquaculture Initiative Mini-Grants

Aquaculture Products of Charlestown received $275 to test methods for reducing starfish predation in oyster culture.

Russell Blank and William Blank of North Kingstown received $3,000 for the purchase of materials and seed to grow bay scallops and soft-shell clams.

Louis Ricciarelli, Jr. of West Kingston received $3,000 to grow bay scallops to harvestable size in Narragansett Bay, using varying types of cages to determine the best method for grow-out.

Salt Water Farms, LLC of Wakefield received $3,000 to purchase processing machinery intended to reduce operating costs and accelerate the growth rates of cultured oysters and mussels.

Spatco, Ltd., of Wakefield, received $2,000 to purchase and test in-water aeration equipment that will substantially reduce ambient noise levels.

Kenneth Thompson of North Providence received $2,000 to grow surf clams, which have not previously been cultivated in Rhode Island.

Christopher Warfel of New Shoreham received $1,700 to develop a hybrid wind and solar powered upweller to enable shellfish aquaculturists to site culture operations in remote waters.

Rhode Island Sea Grant is a federal-state partnership that promotes the conservation and sustainable development of marine resources for the public benefit through research, outreach, and education.