Maryland Sea Grant
Many leaders in Maryland have highlighted the importance of developing oyster aquaculture in the state: this industry supports local working waterfronts and also helps the state’s struggling seafood industry. Maryland Sea Grant Extension helped to bring about changes in state policy to make it easier for residents to obtain leases for aquaculture operations in Chesapeake Bay, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs. To help them pursue those opportunities, Maryland Sea Grant Extension and its partners have developed a number of programs that help shellfish growers to obtain start-up funding for these ventures and to build and operate them successfully.
Among other programs, Maryland Sea Grant Extension supports the Remote Setting Training program, which helps oyster growers to produce spat-on-shell, or oyster larvae that have attached themselves to recycled shells. Partners in the effort include the Maryland-based Oyster Recovery Partnership and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Beginning in 2011, this program has operated equipment called remote setting tanks at sites across Maryland’s portion of Chesapeake Bay. Staff at the UMCES Horn Point Oyster Hatchery train participating growers how to use these tanks to produce their own oyster spat. The hatchery also provides growers with oyster larvae at no charge. Participants are encouraged to build and maintain their own setting tanks.