Rutgers Researchers Working to Make Shellfish Aquaculture a Priority Economic Activity

Farm raised oysters.

Farm raised oysters.

Many coastal states have developed multi-million dollar shellfish aquaculture industries and sell their shellfish products in markets close to New Jersey. A key to their success has been a top-down mandate from state government to grow the industry. States such as Maryland, Virginia, and Rhode Island have experienced tremendous growth in shellfish production stemming from strong state leadership.

These mandates have established shellfish aquaculture as a priority activity with significant economic value and created a single, lead authority for shellfish aquaculture. In addition, they have expanded acreage that is suitable for shellfish aquaculture and have led to the implementation of science-based regulatory frameworks.

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Fluke Management: New Sense Of Urgency

If your fishing logs for five consecutive years show consistent fluke catches along a particular inshore lump for the entire month of July, yet in season six you’re skunked all the way through August, what does this tell you about the fishing?.. "It’s kind of early to figure out what’s going to happen, but it sure gives us a sense of urgency," said Greg Hueth on July 28 at an SSFFF presentation to local stakeholders at the Reel Seat in Brielle. Hueth said scientists are "very interested in what we’re doing" in terms of the current work by researchers at the universities at Rutgers and Cornell, while adding "hopefully we’ll get a seat at the table next summer," where the commissioned research findings can be presented.

Read the entire article at The Fisherman »

Rutgers 250: NJAES All-Star Variety of the Month – ‘Triploid’ Oyster

Farm raised oysters ready for harvest at a Cape May County oyster farm.

Farm raised oysters ready for harvest at a Cape May County oyster farm.

The oyster breeding program at Rutgers University has conducted over a century of cutting-edge scientific research to overcome challenges to the industry from the devastating effects of over-fishing, diseases, and climate change. Professor Ximing Guo explains his research and vision.

Throughout Rutgers’ yearlong celebration of its 250th anniversary (November 2015 to November 2016), NJAES each month highlights one of its all-star varieties developed by its breeding program. Decades of research contribute to superior varieties of plants and shellfish, benefitting and sustaining the future of agriculture (which includes aquaculture) in a number of ways. August 2016 celebrates the NJAES oyster breeding program, which dates back to 1901 when Julius Nelson founded the Rutgers Oyster Investigation Laboratory, which became what we now know as the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory—the most productive and prolific oyster research center in the nation.

Professor Ximing Guo.

Professor Ximing Guo.

The Rutgers 250 All-Star Variety for August is the ‘triploid’ oyster! Normal oysters contain two sets of chromosomes, hence diploid, whereas triploid oyster contain three sets of chromosomes. As professor and shellfish geneticist Ximing Guo states, “Triploid oysters have several advantages. One, they grow faster. They’re sterile, so they don’t reproduce. If they don’t reproduce, they’re good for the environment, because they don’t interbreed with the wild populations. If they’re sterile, they also have a better meat quality in the summer.” This is why, when the NJAES oyster breeding program at Rutgers developed a method to produce tetraploid oysters, which can be crossed with normal diploid oyster for production of highly desirable triploid oysters, it created several advantages for oyster growers around the world and thus, has helped to sustain the aquaculture industry. Now, triploid oysters developed at Rutgers are a popular variety in the U.S., France, Australia, and China.

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Warming Coastal Waters Lure Southern Species North

The fish population in New Jersey waters is growing more diverse, and a Rutgers University scientist says climate change is driving it… Dr. Ken Able is the director of Rutgers University’s marine field station in Tuckerton, where for 27 years, they’ve been studying the baby fish that come into the Little Egg Inlet. "And we have a distinct trend," he says. "We have warming water temperatures, and we have fewer northern species and we have more southern species. And there’s good data to support that."

Read the entire article at CBS Philadelphia »

National Oyster Day celebrates humble shellfish

The day celebrates the humble shellfish that rose from a working-class staple to a prized delicacy after oyster beds were decimated by the middle of the 20th century… Rutgers University’s Ximing Guo, a co-inventor of the triploid oyster, said that about 40 to 50 percent of the oysters cultured in the U.S. and France are triploid using the technology invented at Rutgers…

Read the entire article at KCTV News »

Scientists seek ways for oyster farms, red knots to co-exist on Delaware Bay

Joe Moro sold his restaurant in West Chester, Pennsylvania, several years ago and retired to North Cape May and the life of a Delaware Bay oyster farmer. Now he spends five days a week doing manual labor on the mud flats of the bay at low tide, growing oysters known as Cape May Salts… But the success of the industry, now at about nine growers, and talk about its expansion have raised concerns among environmental groups… a team of Rutgers University researchers, led by Brooke Maslo of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, is in the second year of a three-year study to examine the effects of intertidal oyster farming on the birds. Maslo said the team, which includes conservation biologists and aquaculture research faculty, is trying to determine whether the oyster racks themselves have an impact on the birds’ ability to forage, in the absence of people. They are also examining whether activities such as power washing of oysters affect the birds, she said.

Read the entire article at The Press of Atlantic City »

Location matters: Delaware Bay’s tidal flats make tasty oyster

Oysters farmed on tidal flats have a flavor that seafood lovers crave… "The water quality (at the shoreline) imparts a unique sweet, salty flavor to the oyster," said Mike DeLuca, the director of Rutgers University’s Aquaculture Innovation Center on Bayshore Road in Cape May. "Obviously growers don’t want to lose that."

Read the entire article at The Press of Atlantic City »

Bill would simplify aquaculture permit process

Legislation to simplify the permit process for aquaculture projects such as oyster farms in state waters was approved Thursday by the Senate Economic Growth Committee… In 2013, Rutgers University released a survey of oyster farmers in New Jersey. There were 12 oyster farmers, and 11 of them responded. One respondent was located in Cumberland County, six in Cape May County, three in Ocean County and one in Atlantic County.

Read the entire article at The Press of Atlantic City »

Medical Labs May Be Killing Horseshoe Crabs

Drawing the crabs’ blue blood for vital medical testing can condemn the animals to die, even after they are returned to the sea… "There’s not very good science-based information on the mortality of the crabs. I’ve seen figures range from 15 percent to 40 percent but nobody has a really good handle on that," says Michael De Luca, senior associate director at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University.

Read the entire article at Scientific American »

World’s richest source of oceanographic data now operational at Rutgers

The National Science Foundation awarded $11.8 million to Rutgers to launch and operate the Ocean Observatories Initiative’s data system. The data center for the pioneering Ocean Observatories Initiative, which collects and shares data from more than 800 sophisticated instruments and a transmission network across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, is now operating at Rutgers University… "Rutgers is now the hub for the world’s richest source of new in-water oceanographic data, and we are extremely proud to have been chosen for this important work," says Christopher J. Molloy, Rutgers’ senior vice president for research and economic development.

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