New Federal Grant For Aquaculture And Shellfish Specialist In New Jersey

New Federal Grant For Aquaculture And Shellfish Specialist In New Jersey

Funding will support collaborative program coordinator position at Rutgers

SANDY HOOK, N.J. –The New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium/New Jersey Sea Grant and Rutgers University’s Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory recently received funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Sea Grant Program to support an aquaculture extension agent with shellfish expertise. The three-year, $300,000 grant will fund a New Jersey Sea Grant extension agent to support ongoing studies in oyster aquaculture being conducted at the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory (HSRL).

Funding for this new position was secured through a collaborative proposal prepared by Peter Rowe, director of extension and research for the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium/New Jersey Sea Grant (NJMSC/NJSG) and John Kraeuter, associate director at HSRL, and obtained through the highly selective 2010 Sea Grant Extension Technology Transfer Competition.

“NJMSC/NJSG is pleased to partner with HSRL on this grant that will support an aquaculture extension agent dedicated to the shellfish industry in southern New Jersey,” noted Rowe. “We look forward to transferring research results and products to the oystermen in order to revitalize a historically important industry on the Delaware Bay.”

By the end of the 3-year funding period that the grant will cover, the new agent will develop materials for technical and non technical audiences on the various aspects of rack and bag, cage culture and shell planting, including comparison of yield for diploid and triploid disease resistant oyster strains and control of Vibrio. In addition, the agent will promote extension efforts involving multiple partners in industry, academia, local, county, state and regional agencies and other Sea Grant programs.

Close to 190 licensed aquaculturists and four commercial shellfish hatcheries exist in the state. Recent advances in oyster and hard clam aquaculture in New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as the establishment of school-based outreach program, are building blocks for an integrated extension program in southern New Jersey.

“This federal funding is critically important and will strengthen aquaculture efforts primarily in southern New Jersey,” said John Kraeuter.  “The Delaware Bay oyster aquaculture efforts were severely impacted by the loss of a highly effective Sea Grant aquaculture agent three years ago, so this is an important reinvestment for the state and region.”

Programs in hard clam culture along New Jersey’s Atlantic Coast, including Raritan Bay, are adequately covered by a Rutgers Cooperative Extension agent but the Delaware Bay has lacked the ongoing scientific resources, as well as the information and outreach, of an aquaculture agent.

The new aquaculture agent, who will administratively be a program coordinator in the statewide Rutgers Cooperative Extension structure, is expected to be hired sometime this fall and will be based at the HSRL facility in Cape May, NJ.

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About New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium/New Jersey Sea Grant
The New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium/New Jersey Sea Grant is an affiliation of colleges, universities and other groups dedicated to advancing knowledge and stewardship of New Jersey’s marine and coastal environment.  NJMSC/NJSG meets its mission through its innovative research, education and outreach programs. For more information about NJMSC/NJ Sea Grant, visit njmsc.org.

About Rutgers Cooperative Extension

The service and outreach component of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) helps New Jersey’s diverse population adapt to a rapidly changing society and improve their lives and communities through an educational process that uses science-based knowledge. RCE has a presence in all 21 New Jersey counties and its vast network of 4-H agents, extension specialists, family and community health sciences educators, and agricultural and resource management agents work to serve New Jersey residents in the urban, suburban, and rural communities in which they live. For more information about Rutgers Cooperative Extension, visit njaes.rutgers.edu/extension/.

Media Contact: John Kraeuter
856-785-0074, ext. 4331
E-mail: kraeuter@hsrl.rutgers.edu