Study Reveals Benefits of Shellfish Farming

Study Reveals Benefits of Shellfish Farming
An oyster farm. Photo/NOAA Aquaculture Program.

A recent study carried out by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) supports the use of shellfish aquaculture to aid in the removal of excess nutrients and eutrophication reduction.

During the study, scientists measured the amount of nitrogen removed from the local environment by a shellfish farm by applying the Farm Aquaculture Resource Management (FARM) model, which estimates the impact of shellfish nutrient removal through both growth and harvest, as well as shellfish production. Applied to 14 locations across 9 countries and 4 continents, considering 7 species of shellfish, the model estimated an overall range of annual nitrogen removal from 105 to 1,356 pounds per acre. These results compare favorably to reported nitrogen removal effectiveness of agricultural best management practices and stormwater control measures, indicating shellfish aquaculture as an effective candidate for inclusion in nutrient trading programs.

The research was conducted by scientists with NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the New University of Lisbon.

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The publication is available online here.