The North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve is interested in better understanding the potential impacts of shellfish cultivation on wild shellfish resources. While ecosystem services provided by wild oysters, such as water filtration and nutrient cycling, are often also attributed to shellfish farming, recent siting of shellfish farms in a coastal reserve has raised some concerns for resource managers. North Carolina’s shellfish aquaculture industry has been small but stable for over 30 years; however, current legislative changes are aimed at creating the potential for rapid growth. The southern portion of the North Carolina coast has consistently provided more than 50 percent of the wild harvest in the state, which has contributed to the interest in creating oyster farms throughout the region.
About this resource
A 2016 Collaborative Research project led by researchers at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington is assessing the ecosystem services of shellfish farming by measuring impacts of newly established farms in the North Carolina Research Reserve. This project overview describes the project approach, anticipated benefits, anticipated products, and targeted end users.