Delaware Estuary Summit Charts Course for Aquaculture in the Region

Farm-raised oysters in New Jersey ready for market.

Farm-raised oysters in New Jersey ready for market. Photo by Lisa Calvo.

Managers, educators, and oyster farmers gathered at Cape May’s Grand Hotel late last month for a special session, “Shellfish Culture Now and Tomorrow: Charting a Course for Delaware Estuary Aquaculture,” held in conjunction with the Delaware Estuary Science and Environmental Summit. The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary has hosted the summit every two years since 2005 and it has become as important conference for a variety of stakeholders whose work focuses on the estuary.

The special session about shellfish aquaculture originated with Daphne Munroe, assistant professor at the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory (HSRL). Munroe worked with summit organizers and HSRL colleague Lisa Calvo, aquaculture program coordinator, to develop and host the session, which included overviews of shellfish aquaculture in New Jersey and Delaware and an extensive discussion period that engaged conference participates and invited panelists. [Read more…]

Climate May Have Fluke on the Move

Like every other living organism, fish just want to be comfortable. That’s why, in the face of warming ocean water, they may be on the move. Dr. Malin Pinsky of Rutgers University, who studies the effects of climate change in fisheries, said many species are shifting to the north at a time when the climate has been warming… "We’re seeing a climate fingerprint in many of these shifts in species distribution," Dr. Pinsky said… Dr. Pinsky and Rutgers have just begun a joint research project with Stony Brook University, George Mason University and the University of North Carolina to understand whether a changing climate played a role in the shift and what the economic and regulatory impacts will be.

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EPA Considering Hackensack River for Cleanup Plan

In an acknowledgment that the Hackensack River remains seriously polluted with a century of industrial waste, the federal government will consider adding the river to the federal Superfund list, a program reserved for the country’s most contaminated sites… In addition, research conducted by Rutgers’ Judith Weiss over the past decade has showed that the mercury and PCBs in the Hackensack’s sediment are still so high that crabs and bluefish exhibit extremely odd behavior, making it hard for them to catch prey… "Are there environmental impairments in the Hackensack? I believe there are," said Beth Ravit, the Rutgers University professor in charge of the study on the use of oysters to clean up the river.

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Spotlight on Rutgers’ Oyster Research at Cape May Canal Draws Industry Out of Shell

What looks like a water-purification business to many people transiting the Cape May Canal by boat is actually a research facility. David Jones, laboratory researcher and the Aquaculture Innovation Center operations manager, said he doesn’t think many people know about the Rutgers University facility or its scope of operations… The food that Rutgers AIC is not-so-secretly developing is oysters… "Rather than traditional fishermen that are harvesting wild oysters from the bay, the oysters grown in the lower (Delaware) Bay use a containerized system," said Lisa Calvo, Aquaculture Extension program coordinator. "They all go pretty much to a half-shell market, a more specialty niche market of high-end restaurants and better markets for eating raw on the half shell."

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The Oceans Are on the Verge of Mass Extinction. Here’s How to Avoid It.

We land-based creatures live in the midst of a massive extinction crisis, just the sixth one over the past half billion years. What about the oceans?… Now, as tricky as it will be to cut back on overfishing by convincing fish farmers to mend their ways and consumers to change their habits, the even bigger challenge will be to stop trashing the place all of these critters call home. Habitat degradation, according to the Science authors, is the main trigger for the extinction wave we’re now seeing on land, and is probably the biggest threat to cause a similar catastrophe at sea. "If you cranked up the aquarium heater and dumped some acid in the water, your fish would not be very happy," Malin L. Pinsky, a marine biologist at Rutgers University and an author of the report, told The Times’ Zimmer.

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