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Enhancing Coastal Bivalve Aquaculture

The Haskin Team led by Dr. Ximing Guo received a major grant from NOAA Sea Grant on “Enhancing Bivalve Aquaculture Through Species Improvement and Diversification” (Co-PIs Daphne Munroe, Lisa Calvo, David Bushek, Mike De Luca). Bivalve aquaculture is one of the most important aquaculture industries in the US and around the world. Bivalve aquaculture is environmentally friendly and important to the socioeconomic well-being of coastal areas that are depressed by the decline of wild fisheries. Further growth of bivalve aquaculture is hindered by diseases, unpredictable mortality and a lack of crop diversity.

Bivalve aquaculture in New Jersey is dominated by oyster farming in Delaware Bay and hard clam farming in coastal bays. Both species are threatened by diseases. Disease-resistant stocks have been developed for eastern oyster aquaculture, but most of the selected stocks so far are developed for low-salinity estuaries. Vast areas in coastal waters of New Jersey and the northeastern U.S. are well suited for the culture of diverse bivalve species. Two native bivalves, bay scallop (Argopecten irradians) and Atlantic surfclam (Spisula solidissima), are promising alternative aquaculture species for high-salinity environments, but they face challenges by winter and summer mortalities, respectively. With the new NOAA Sea Grant, the Haskin Team aims to enhance bivalve aquaculture through the development of oyster stocks and alternative species for high-salinity environments.

Specifically, the team will spend the next three years to:

  1. Develop superior eastern oyster stocks that survive and grow well in high-salinity environments
  2. Improve growth of bay scallops to enable within-year harvest
  3. Develop surfclams with fast growth and heat tolerance to enhance survival and enable early harvest
  4. Transfer project results to New Jersey and regional shellfish farmers

Dr. Ximing Guo and Lisa Calvo also received a new grant from NOAA NMFS Saltonstall-Kennedy program to develop superior triploid oysters for high-salinity coastal bays of New Jersey and the Northeastern region.