The UW Shellfish Farm is a project conceived by several graduate students, faculty and staff at the School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences (SAFS), in collaboration with the School of Marine & Environmental Affairs (SMEA) and the College of the Environment. We seek to establish a student-run shellfish farm at the Big Beef Creek Research Station, a SAFS field site on Hood Canal. The overarching goals of the project are:
1) Provide students and with a hands-on opportunity to experience sustainable seafood production.
2) Conduct outreach and education on estuarine health and climate change impacts on the marine environment.
3) Conduct monitoring to quantify environmental impacts of shellfish aquaculture on estuarine health.
4) Serve as a field site for ongoing shellfish research at UW.
5) Become self-sustaining by selling cultivated shellfish (e.g. clams, oysters) through wholesalers, UW dining establishments, a subscription service, and other outlets.
Our proposal is divided into two parts:
Phase I consists of a feasibility study for the Farm, including the development of a full business plan and management model, assessment of permitting requirements for commercial shellfish aquaculture and sales, initiation of permitting process through all necessary channels, formalization of partnerships with industry and other regional stakeholders (i.e. tribes, NGOs). We are poised to begin Phase I in Fall 2015.
Phase II consists of full implementation of the plan, namely the acquisition of grow-out materials, recruitment of student interns and volunteers, construction of a physical shellfish grow-out system at Big Beef Creek, acquisition and planting of shellfish “seed”, and development of educational and outreach material. Research conducted through Phase I will inform our cost estimates for Phase II.
We currently seek funding from the CSF to initiate Phase I. Funds requested will support a graduate student from the SMEA to conduct the feasibility study over three academic quarters, and will allow us to hire legal counsel to evaluate the legal requirements for developing an aquaculture operation on University property and to assist with the permitting process.