Ocean Currents » Ryan Ono http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:26:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 On Location with Ocean Acidification http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/21/on-location-with-ocean-acidification/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/21/on-location-with-ocean-acidification/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 21:42:51 +0000 Ryan Ono http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=13377

The film crew records an exciting moment on the Miss Britt II.

Last week, two filmmakers and I went to South Florida to document how ocean acidification can touch communities, like Miami’s, that don’t depend heavily on shellfish harvests. Known for its marine life, beaches, coral reefs and sunny weather, Miami and much of Florida rely on these natural assets to drive the local fishing and tourist industry. Coral reefs are the key link, because they provide habitat for vast numbers of fish—including many of the sport fish that make Florida’s charter fishing industry a must-visit for thousands of tourists each year.

Corals live in shallow and deep waters all the way around Florida—from the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea around to the Atlantic coast. They provide nurseries for young fish, where food and protection abound. Shallow-water corals also protect Florida’s coasts from hurricane waves, and the skeletons of coral reefs from thousands of years ago create Florida’s actual bedrock. But ocean acidification doesn’t care—it’s wearing away at coral reefs new and old. Lots of coastal communities have reason for concern.

To tell this story, our team filmed some of the ocean acidification research on corals underway in the Miami area as well as the coastal businesses who depend on the healthy surrounding reefs. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science welcomed us into their research labs, and we went behind the scenes at Captain’s Tavern Restaurant and Seafood Market.

Filmmaker Benj Drummond isn’t interviewing the fish – he’s capturing the “ambience,” or background noise, at the Captain’s Tavern and Seafood Restaurant in Miami, Florida.

We learned how deep fishing runs as an important part of Miami’s identity. I even got to cast a few lines with Miss Britt Sportfishing Charters.

Ryan Ono fishing with Miss Britt Sportfishing. Courtesy of Ryan Ono/Ocean Conservancy.

What we did capture was the story of an ocean-centered community.  So many of the Floridians we interviewed this week described the ocean as a magnet, drawing people to the beach, the fish, the corals and even to research.

Captain Ray Rosher cleans the day’s catch.

These are tight coastal communities with a shared love for the ocean. We’re pleased to report that Florida’s deep community respect for healthy oceans and coral reefs is igniting their interest in taking action on ocean acidification. We look forward to sharing that story with you in our upcoming film!

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Eight Generations http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/07/21/eight-generations/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/07/21/eight-generations/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 13:44:29 +0000 Ryan Ono http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12447

Can you imagine a family in the same business for eight generations?  Talk about dedication and deep expertise! That is what struck me when I met the Haward family, who has been farming oysters since the 1700s.  Last month in West Mersea, England, I had the privilege of visiting Richard Haward’s Oysters. I was hosted by Richard himself, along with his son Bram. These men have inherited a craft honed by their great, great, great, great grandparents, but they are living in a time of unprecedented environmental change. And that is precisely why I was there, along with four American shellfish farmers. Specifically, we traveled to the United Kingdom to talk about ocean acidification and how it threatens the livelihoods and traditions of people who rely on the sea.

Earlier this week I wrote about the formal (and informal) discussions we had about ocean acidification with U.K. shellfish farmers, scientists and policymakers. We talked about its impacts on U.S. oyster and shellfish health and how we’ve started to address it on both sides of the Atlantic. We learned about the oyster farms, growing techniques, and water quality issues in the U.K.

Today, I’m writing about the people on the water whose lives would be directly affected by acidification.

I’m also showing more photos so you get a sense of Richard’s family, his business, the water where the oysters are harvested and of course, the oysters.

Here’s what we saw and learned:

We traveled about two hours by train and car from London to West Mersea, a small, breezy fishing town on the mostly farmland island of Mersea. Our trip took place during a pleasant window of sunny weather before the rain came later that afternoon. Credit: Katy Davidson A photo of everyone who came on the trip in front of Richard’s family restaurant. Front L-R: Terry Sawyer, Silvana Birchenough, Ryan Ono, Theresa Douthwright (SoleShare partner), Jack Clarke (SoleShare); Back (L-R): Bill Dewey, Richard Haward, Dan Grosse and Mike Martinsen. Credit: Katy Davidson After meeting Richard at the restaurant, we split into two groups on different boats to dredge for two different species of oysters in the River Blackwater. Credit: Katy Davidson Richard (right) and Terry Sawyer (left) of Hog Island Oyster Co.  in California discuss how the oysters (Crassostrea gigas or Pacific oysters) just harvested in their hands have become prolific around the world, and in fact Terry and others from the Pacific Coast grow the same oyster species, originally from Japan. In England, these have supplemented low production of native European oysters (Ostrea edulis, or European flats). Credit: Ryan Ono Me holding a “native” European oyster. These are rarer in Europe due to overfishing and pollution since the late 1800s, and are sold at a premium. In raw form on a half-shell, they can retail up to $4 each in upscale London oyster bars. Credit: Ryan Ono Terry talks to Jack Clarke of SoleShare, our trip organizers, about the 4-6 years of growth “natives” need to achieve market-size, with Terry holding one in his hand. Credit: Ryan Ono Cefas scientist Silvana Birchenough (left) asks Bill Dewey (right) of Taylor Shellfish Farms in Washington State about the impact of ocean acidification on the Pacific Northwest shellfish industry over the years. Credit: Katy Davidson Harvesting oysters on the River Blackwater. Richard and his family place baby oysters, or spat, from a hatchery onto the riverbed. The spat are allowed to grow for a few years before harvest. Not all oyster farmers dredge their shellfish from the riverbed though. Other production methods include the use of plastic mesh bags and metal cages in which the baby oysters grow, suspended just above the ocean or river floor. Credit: Katy Davidson One of Richard’s workers searches for the best, market-sized Pacific oysters in this haul. They are then brought to shore, purified (see later photo), and shipped off to customers. Credit: Katy Davidson A box of the Pacific oysters ready to be weighed, packed, sold and shipped. These either go directly to customer homes in wooden boxes to allow for air circulation, are sold at one of Richard’s seafood restaurants, or shipped to restaurants all over Europe.Credit: Katy Davidson Talking more oysters on the boat. Conversations ranged from the market prices of oysters, and time and labor spent harvesting, to the history of the industry. A common concern shared by farmers around the globe is disease outbreak. And unfortunately the UK oyster industry was hit with vibrio disease outbreaks as recently as 2011 that decimated production for some farms. Mike Martinsen of the Montauk Shellfish Company is in his famous hat in the middle. Richard leads us on a tour of his facility where, after harvest, the oysters are stored in clean water to help flush out any impurities or bacteria in tanks for about 48 hours before they are shipped off for human consumption. Credit: Katy Davidson After a tough day sightseeing and talking shop, we met back at the restaurant and enjoyed some oysters and beer! Here, Dan Grosse of Toby Island Bay Oyster Farm and I raise a few shells. Credit: Katy Davidson


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Oysters and Beer http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/07/19/oysters-and-beer/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/07/19/oysters-and-beer/#comments Tue, 19 Jul 2016 13:00:27 +0000 Ryan Ono http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12421

I don’t always drink beer. But when I do, I drink it while eating oysters. Or at least that’s what I did in London a few weeks ago, with oyster farmers shucking local oysters right on the pub tables.

One of the perks of my job is to talk with oyster farmers, and oftentimes the most productive conversations and connections happen over drinks. In this instance, I was with American farmers Bill Dewey of Taylor Shellfish Farms, Dan Grosse of Toby Island Bay Oyster Farm, Mike Martinsen of Montauk Shellfish Company and Terry Sawyer of Hog Island Oyster Company to talk about ocean acidification with shellfish farmers, scientists and government policy staff from the United Kingdom. After a long day of meetings we went to a pub in London to continue the discussion, and one of the UK farmers, Tristan Hugh-Jones of Rossmore Oysters, actually brought native oysters from his farm to share right in the pub. I’m not sure how much the pub employees appreciated it, but seeing all the growers compete for quickest and cleanest shucking job was entertaining for everyone.

Earlier that day we had hosted a workshop covering the impacts of ocean acidification, diseases and water quality issues that harm bivalve shellfish with UK shellfish farmers, scientists and government policy staff.  Fishermen, shellfish farmers and coastal communities in both countries rely on a healthy ocean as an economic resource, and they all want to keep it that way. The $51 million (£33 million) shellfish aquaculture industry in the U.K. employs over 700 people in areas with scarce employment opportunities. But this industry is in jeopardy: Carbon dioxide emissions, emitted by all nations, are creating more acidic seawater that harms a number of commercially valuable species including oysters, mussels, clams, corals and crustaceans.

A few U.K. shellfish farmers are becoming concerned over this environmental threat and want to learn more. At the workshop, they did just that. Bill and Terry, farmers from the U.S. Pacific Coast explained how ocean acidification contributed to multiple years of oyster seed die-offs to their industry almost ten years ago. Dan and Mike from the U.S. Atlantic Coast followed up noting that, while they have not yet felt any direct impacts, they are motivated to learn about this issue, and take preventative action to avoid the kinds of oyster die-offs the West Coast has experienced.

It’s common for crops of oysters to die unexpectedly in any location, including the U.K., but right now, there’s no way to tell in the U.K. whether this is due to acidification. During our workshop, U.K. scientists Dr. Rob Ellis and Dr. Silvana Birchenough presented research showing local bivalves and crustaceans grow slower and survive less often under acidification conditions in lab settings. They also projected that U.K. aquaculture and wild fishery industries in the future would suffer between $1.8 million (£1.4 million) and $11.8 million (£9.1 million) in annual loses depending on global carbon emission rates.

As individuals have become increasingly aware of the harm carbon dioxide emissions have on their daily lives, they have pushed their governments to act.  The commitments made during and following the COP21 Conference this past December were a huge step towards cutting back emissions around the world. And this September, the 3rd international Our Ocean conference offers another opportunity for countries to act on acidification and other global ocean problems such as marine pollution and overfishing.

The U.K. and other countries have made important commitments to protect the ocean through this conference series. And I for one hope that the voices of the shellfish farmers and other ocean users push our leaders to take even bolder conservation steps, because I like my oysters, and I want to eat them whenever I want in the future, with or without the beer.

Stay tuned tomorrow for photos and a report from the field trip our American delegation took to visit one oyster farm in Essex County. We were there to see their growing areas and learn about the local water quality. I’ll share what we learned in tomorrow’s follow-up blog post.

 

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Massachusetts Tackling Acidification http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/04/06/massachusetts-tackling-acidification/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/04/06/massachusetts-tackling-acidification/#comments Wed, 06 Apr 2016 13:30:38 +0000 Ryan Ono http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=11836

Count Massachusetts as the latest state to take a step towards fighting ocean acidification. Last week I attended a forum hosted by ocean champions Congressman Bill Keating (MA-9th) and Massachusetts State Representative Tim Madden (D-Nantucket) at the Woods Hole Research Center.  While there, I learned about a state bill sponsored by Rep. Madden to form a commission that will guide the state’s response to ocean acidification.

This commission would first examine how acidification may affect local marine resources like lobsters and oysters. Then it would recommend what Massachusetts can do to protect its coastal jobs and economies related to those resources. The Bay State has always been a leader on ocean issues, and this latest effort provides another example of action.

During the discussion, Rep. Keating pointed out that we should consider the ocean as a critical piece of infrastructure that needs to be maintained, like roads or bridges. Ocean acidification spells bad news for shellfish farmers, fishermen, and coastal resource managers because it hurts oyster populations and slows the growth of mussels and clams. As a result, Keating has consistently supported national funding for more acidification research and monitoring.

It’s clear that Massachusetts is part of a geographically growing concern over acidification. Forum panelist Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker spoke about the actions that have been underway along the Pacific coast since 2009, particularly those by the Pacific Coast Collaborative. Maine and Maryland formed task forces, which recommended actions like monitoring water quality for acidification, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions and nitrogen run-off pollution in 2015. Delaware and New Jersey conducted internal studies in the same year, encouraging regional cooperation across state boundaries, additional scientific research on acidification and increased outreach to the fishing and shellfish communities. These activities are all effective steps towards reducing acidification, but they are not the only options for people and states to take.

If Massachusetts passes Rep. Madden’s bill, it will become the fifth state (after Washington, Maine, Maryland and Oregon) to legislatively approve of a commission that will lay the groundwork for combatting ocean acidification. I look forward to that becoming a reality.

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Questioning Our Changing Ocean http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/03/22/questioning-our-changing-oceans/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/03/22/questioning-our-changing-oceans/#comments Tue, 22 Mar 2016 13:00:08 +0000 Ryan Ono http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=11722

We all notice when things aren’t quite the same from day to day in our everyday surroundings. Some people’s jobs depend on it. Fishermen, for one, need to notice small changes on the water every day—in the currents, temperatures, and even the fish they’re chasing. Get them together, and these hardworking men and women compare notes on what they’re seeing.

This month, the Maine Fishermen’s Forum in Rockland, Maine attracted fishermen, scientists, managers and community groups to discuss all things fishing in the region. The featured panel of the 3-day event was entitled “Questioning Our Changing Oceans” where fishermen talked about how waters around the world, particularly the Gulf of Maine, are changing.  This discussion was not just sea tales, though. Scientists presented the latest research and data on environmental changes happening in the Atlantic Ocean, and what the future might hold.

Most fishermen were concerned about how lobsters will respond to ocean change. As the prize fishery in Maine worth about $500 million in 2015, and comprising over 80% of the state’s seafood industry value, “there is a lot at stake. Lobster are also sensitive to environmental changes like rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification.

Rising water temperatures and their likely impacts on Maine seafood this year received the most attention. The fishermen panelists had two other important takeaways for the audience. First, fishermen need to be involved in science and management discussions, because ocean changes will ultimately impact their bottom lines, and because any regulation changes need to be practical. Second, they felt it was unwise to rely too heavily on just one species—right now, lobster.

Maine waters do seem to be changing, but the people of Maine are being proactive in staying on top of the science and planning for the future. Conversations like these are an important and necessary first step for coastal residents and business owners taking action to prepare for a changing ocean from coast to coast.

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Ocean Acidification: States Taking Action http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/01/27/ocean-acidification-states-taking-action/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/01/27/ocean-acidification-states-taking-action/#comments Wed, 27 Jan 2016 13:00:05 +0000 Ryan Ono http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=11359

Ocean acidification is one of those big, scary problems that scientists have been warning us about for years.  Carbon emissions are being absorbed by the ocean, turning it more acidic – spelling trouble for oysters, clams, mussels, as well as corals, salmon and even sharks. We know that reducing global carbon emissions is key to solving ocean acidification.  The UN Climate Meeting in December was a resounding success, but what can people and states do, today, that will make a difference to their communities and businesses impacted by acidification?  Turns out, quite a lot.

There is no one size fits all approach, but my colleagues and I have been tracking the efforts underway, and have noticed that many states are sitting up and taking action.  In seeking to make local actions more achievable in other locations, we’ve complied and analyzed these efforts in a paper that was published today in Frontiers in Marine Policy.

Actions to tackle acidification range from relatively straightforward and simple to the politically challenging. Holding information exchanges between scientists, managers, shellfish growers and fishermen to discuss the current understanding of acidification’s local impacts is one example.  Publicly calling for an increased investment of research and water quality monitoring is another.  Strengthening regulations on nitrogen runoff pollution or directly cutting carbon emissions at the local level are trickier options, but the suite of options explored here show that action is possible. And by taking action, we can protect our coastal communities, businesses and livelihoods.

Click below to explore how states from Maine to Alaska, Florida to Oregon, are tackling ocean acidification.

The official ribbon cutting of the touch-screen kiosk designed to teach users about ocean acidification. Photo credit: Bjorn Olson


Homer, Alaska—The Alaska Marine Conservation Council launched its interactive ocean acidification kiosk in summer 2015. The touch-screen, all-weather kiosk is an educational tool containing informational videos on ocean acidification, as well as testimonials from fishermen, scientists and community leaders from coastal Alaska, providing unique information and viewpoints on this important issue. The kiosk will move from its Homer location to Kodiak in spring 2016. Users learn about ocean acidification and its impacts in the port of Homer. Photo credit: AMCC 


Homer, Alaska—The Alaska Marine Conservation Council launched its interactive ocean acidification kiosk in summer 2015. The touch-screen, all-weather kiosk is an educational tool containing informational videos on ocean acidification, as well as testimonials from fishermen, scientists and community leaders from coastal Alaska, providing unique information and viewpoints on this important issue. The kiosk will move from its Homer location to Kodiak in spring 2016. Users learn about ocean acidification and its impacts in the port of Homer. Photo credit: AMCC


Homer, Alaska—The Alaska Marine Conservation Council launched its interactive ocean acidification kiosk in summer 2015. The touch-screen, all-weather kiosk is an educational tool containing informational videos on ocean acidification, as well as testimonials from fishermen, scientists and community leaders from coastal Alaska, providing unique information and viewpoints on this important issue. The kiosk will move from its Homer location to Kodiak in spring 2016. Paul Dobbins of Ocean Approved is standing with instruments to measure CO2, pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, temperature, and depth. Photo credit: Island Institute


Casco Bay, Maine—In November 2015, the Island Institute, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and Ocean Approved kelp farm started a pilot project to test the potential of seaweed aquaculture as a means to store enough CO2 to remediate local waters.  Shellfish located in close proximity to seaweed aquaculture farms may have higher survival rates due to improved carbonate chemistry, and the seaweed product might benefit from increased productivity and growth. Kelp growth after only two months at Paul Dobbin’s farm off of Little Chebeague Island, Maine. Photo credit: Island Institute

Casco Bay, Maine—In November 2015, the Island Institute, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and Ocean Approved kelp farm started a pilot project to test the potential of seaweed aquaculture as a means to store enough CO2 to remediate local waters.  Shellfish located in close proximity to seaweed aquaculture farms may have higher survival rates due to improved carbonate chemistry, and the seaweed product might benefit from increased productivity and growth. Hatchery Research Manager Benoit Eudeline carefully monitors the water chemistry inside the Taylor Shellfish Farms shellfish hatchery in Quilcene, WA. Photo credit: Red Box Pictures

Quilcene, Washington—In response to the loss of oyster larvae in the Pacific Northwest region between 2005 and 2009, Taylor Shellfish Farms rapidly ramped up monitoring and research with an impressive collaboration of industry, university and government scientists.  In the following years, they have installed sophisticated equipment to monitor the corrosive water flowing through their farms and either dodge it or treat it in their hatcheries by adding sodium carbonate to adjust the pH. Hatchery Research Manager Benoit Eudeline carefully monitors the water chemistry inside the Taylor Shellfish Farms shellfish hatchery in Quilcene, WA. Photo credit: Red Box Pictures


Quilcene, Washington—In response to the loss of oyster larvae in the Pacific Northwest region between 2005 and 2009,  Taylor Shellfish Farms rapidly ramped up monitoring and research with an impressive collaboration of industry, university and government scientists.  In the following years, they have installed sophisticated equipment to monitor the corrosive water flowing through their farms and either dodge it or treat it in their hatcheries by adding sodium carbonate to adjust the pH. Hatchery Research Manager Benoit Eudeline carefully monitors the water chemistry inside the Taylor Shellfish Farms shellfish hatchery in Quilcene, WA. Photo credit: Red Box Pictures


Quilcene, Washington—In response to the loss of oyster larvae in the Pacific Northwest region between 2005 and 2009,  Taylor Shellfish Farms rapidly ramped up monitoring and research with an impressive collaboration of industry, university and government scientists.  In the following years, they have installed sophisticated equipment to monitor the corrosive water flowing through their farms and either dodge it or treat it in their hatcheries by adding sodium carbonate to adjust the pH. Dr. Christopher Langdon collecting samples of coral to study their rate of recovery following the 2014 bleaching event in the Florida Keys. Photo credit: Kelsy Armstrong

Miami, Florida—The Langdon Lab at the University of Miami is addressing the knowledge gap on what ocean acidification could mean for Florida’s iconic coral reefs that pump billions of dollars in the state’s economy each year and protect valuable real estate from coastal erosion.  The group has produced research showing that low pH causes low coral fertilization and settlement success in the species studied.  This could contribute to the already rapid decline in coral numbers unless mitigating steps are taken immediately. State legislative action on ocean acidification

 

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Talking Louisiana Oysters http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/12/14/talking-louisiana-oysters/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/12/14/talking-louisiana-oysters/#comments Mon, 14 Dec 2015 14:00:35 +0000 Ryan Ono http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=11222

Ah, Louisiana. Famous for seafood dishes including shrimp étouffée, oyster po’boys and blackened redfish.  Although some of you reading may now be thinking of lunch, there are some great stories behind the recipes, and the efforts people make to secure your meal’s ingredients now and in the future.

One of those people is Dr. John Supan, the Louisiana Sea Grant Oyster Research Laboratory Director who oversees a new oyster hatchery on Grand Isle that provides the larvae, or “seed”, for shellfish farmers and oyster reef rehabilitation efforts.  We recently asked him some questions about how this hatchery helps ensure coastal areas are resilient not only for Louisiana’s culinary history, but also for the regional ecosystem.

Oysters provide a number of services to the natural environment. They improve water quality by filtering water as they feed, help prevent coastal erosion, and also provide habitat for fish and other species. However, oysters and the people that grow them face a number of threats.

Ocean acidification endangers oyster production around the country, and the shellfish aquaculture industry is leading the charge to raise awareness of this threat.  A result of a combination of carbon pollution and nitrogen runoff pollution from urban and rural areas, acidification causes oyster larvae shells to weaken, decreasing their survival.

Also, newly released data show between 4 and 8.3 billion oysters are estimated to have been lost as a result of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in 2010. These impacts, combined with ongoing impacts such as drought, floods, coastal development and hurricanes, make for a tough road for oysters.  The good news is that there are things we can do to protect oysters and the people that grow them, and we talked to John to learn more:

Ocean Conservancy: How did you get started with oysters, and what do you enjoy about it?

Dr. John Supan: During my master’s degree pursuit in the late 1970’s, I worked at a pilot oyster hatchery at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Biloxi, MS.  There, I learned about breeding, rearing and maintaining oysters.  I also learned to build things, plumbing and wiring systems to support growing aquatic organisms which appeals to my “blue collar” background.  I most enjoy the daily sense of accomplishment—seeing things growing due to your work, as opposed to staring at a computer screen.

OC: Earlier this year, the oyster hatchery you direct was rebuilt and reopened.  Can you explain why this occurred, what’s new and what is its purpose?

JS: It’s been said that every storm cloud has a silver lining.  Hurricane Katrina wiped out our old facility, and due to the recent availability of funds, I began designing a new hatchery that could address the 26 years of problems I encountered while running a hatchery on Grand Isle.  Molluscan shellfish hatcheries and the larvae they raise are very vulnerable to poor water quality, so the new hatchery included features to address this.

The old hatchery was operated seasonally (May-September) because it was outdoors under a shed or building, so we could not heat and maintain hatchery seawater temperature.  That stymied algae and shellfish larval growth, increasing the likelihood of problems, so moving hatchery operations indoors with seawater heating was a major improvement.

The new hatchery has many new facility upgrades.  It’s now an elevated concrete and steel building that exceeds hurricane building codes.  We can better filter and treat incoming seawater.  Another new hatchery feature is a back-up power generator which is useful if power is unavailable, especially after hurricanes.  All these improvements will radically reduce our post-storm recovery response times from months to days.

The purpose of the building is dictated by its source of funding. The hatchery is part of a $17 million Louisiana Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) project of the BP oil spill.  It will be used for replenishing public oyster grounds and providing oyster larvae and seed for private oyster culture.

OC: Ocean acidification is a big concern particularly for Pacific Northwest shellfish.  How did it become a concern for you in the Gulf region?

JS: Acidification may not only be caused by carbon dioxide impact on our oceans, but also by riverine or storm water runoff in our estuaries.  Over the years, I have seen oyster larvae failures at Grand Isle and attributed it to unfavorable conditions with our ambient water. Researchers working with Whiskey Creek Oyster Hatchery in Oregon have seen similar larvae failures due to their more acidic water.  They discovered a simple solution to save their oysters: pumping a saturated solution of soda ash (an antacid) into the hatchery’s seawater lines to raise the pH to 8.25, which is ideal for oysters.  Learning from Whiskey Creek’s experience, we are using soda ash to do the same.

OC: What is your future hope for this hatchery, and oysters in Louisiana from an aquaculture and wild ecosystem perspective?

JS: It is important that we have a viable oyster fishery in Louisiana to help support our coastal economy, ecological services, and our culture and cuisine.  Wild oyster production is naturally cyclical, but hatcheries can help augment wild production by providing larvae for public and private oyster seed production.  Hatcheries can also support private oyster culture by improving survival, shell growth, meat yield, and overall production, which traditionally accounts for nearly 80% of the oysters harvested in Louisiana.

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