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Expanding Oyster Aquaculture Benefits North Carolina’s Economy and Environment

North Carolina’s oyster aquaculture industry is growing to serve local businesses. Photo credit: Vanda Lewis

The North Carolina oyster industry is a major economic resource for the state with an estimated value of $4.54 million for wild oyster harvest and a farm-gate value of $450,000 for aquacultured oysters. North Carolina Sea Grant and partners lead efforts to share the economic and environmental benefits of shellfish, which include improved water quality and habitat.

A major hurdle for oyster aquaculture and reef restoration alike is the carbonate-boring sponge that limits reef growth. One Sea Grant research team — a university scientist and a local fisherman — combined their knowledge and talents to develop a biodegradable substrate that promotes oyster growth while limiting sponges and other oyster enemies. The team’s new business is drawing international attention for its sustainable technology and fast-growing oysters.

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Images of Sea Grant's work in research, education and extension provided by (from left to right) Wisconsin, Guam and Florida Sea Grant programs. Design by Hallee Meltzer | National Sea Grant Office.
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Sea Grant takes center stage in Oceanography special issue

NOAA Sea Grant-funded research and work with coastal and Great Lakes communities across the nation are being highlighted in a special issue of “Oceanography,” the official journal of The Oceanography Society. 

This special issue, published in April 2024, features 36 articles contributed by Sea Grant authors across 29 programs and the NOAA National Sea Grant Office. 

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