1623 Whitesville Rd.

Toms River, NJ 08755


Volume 1:05

January 20th, 2005


Shellfish Notes

by Ed Rhodes, ECSGA Executive Director

   I feel it worth a bit of newsletter space to bring a couple of items to your attention.  I’d also like to point out that I’d be glad to hear from you by phone, e-mail or letter if you have opinions or ideas on any of the newsletter topics.

   First, I know that some ECSGA members, especially those from our southern states are concerned that ECSGA may be putting too much emphasis on northern growers.  This is not intentional, and we are working to make sure that we do serve all of our growers equally.  The annual meeting at the end of January in Ocean City, Maryland is one decision we have made to move our center more southward.  And we had an informal ECSGA meeting in Charleston in November as part of the Shellfish Restoration Conference.  The recent shellfish summit put together by NRAC, and the submission of a Best Management Practices proposal to NRAC do have a northeastern flavor to them.  But we are reaching out to SRAC as well to see if they will co-fund the proposal and make it a bit easier for us to do some of that work further south.

   ECSGA can only be stronger if we have active membership from all of the east coast states.  We are working to make sure that we represent shellfish growers in all of the “right coast” states, and we look forward to your comments on how to do this even better in the future.

   And secondly, a vision I have is to try and bring the shellfish industry and the National Shellfisheries Association closer together.  For years and years the industry, represented by the Shellfish Institute of North America and NSA met together annually.  That joint meeting allowed a substantial interaction of industry and research, to the benefit of both groups.  This collaboration broke down about 20 years ago, and I think it is time to revisit it.  I’ll start a dialog on our listserv in the near future on this to see whether this is something we should pursue.



National Shellfisheries Association 2005 Meeting

   The annual meeting of The National Shellfisheries Association, 10-14 April in Philadelphia, will provide an opportunity for ECSGA members to meet for discussion, as well as a technical program with many oral and poster presentations relevant to shellfish growers.  A room in the Doubletree Hotel has been reserved for PCSGA on Tuesday afternoon starting at 5:00 PM, near the end of the poster session, for as long thereafter as needed.  The technical program consists of over 125 talks and nearly 50 posters, with special and contributed sessions devoted to aquaculture and fisheries, genetics, various aspects of disease, nutrition and harmful algae, and other topics of likely interest to ECSGA members.  For Registration and other information, please visit the National Shellfisheries Association web page at 

– Gary Wikfors


Mouth of the Bay

The winter has been pretty mild so far. We have not had to battle the ice to get to our crops and while it has been wet, the temperatures have been mild. There have only been a handful of blowout days that force me to retreat to the warmth of my office to write newsletters. I write just before heading off to a flurry of events to represent East Coast Shellfish Growers.

   Ed Rhodes and I (and several of our members) will be at the World Aquaculture Conference in New Orleans, Jan 18-21. The environmental NGO groups will be there in force to speak out against carnivorous fish and shrimp aquaculture and we will be there to make sure shellfish aquaculture continues to be perceived as enviromentally sustainable. We will also hit the trade show floor to try and convince new industry partners to join in support of the association. 

   I will bring our concerns to the Board of Directors meeting of the National Aquaculture Association. The NAA has been very helpful supporting our comments on COOL and sewage blending. They have also worked behind the scenes arranging meetings with key people on matters like EPA’s Aquaculture Effluent Guidelines, the Commission on Ocean Policy and Army Corps issues.

   A few days after WAS several of our members will be joining shellfish growers from the Gulf Coast and Pacific Coast in a strategy meeting at National Fisheries Institute’s headquarters outside DC. On January 24th. We will spend the next several days meeting with legislators and discussing various issues that require their attention such as funding for BMPs or marketing, sewage blending, WTO sanctions and misguided regulators.  Since we have representatives in so many states it is easy to find influential legislators from almost every key committee who need to hear our message. Joining Ed and myself will be Karen Rivara, Tom Kehoe, Tom Leggett, and George Mathis.

   After a day at home to do a load of laundry and say “hi” to the family it is off to Ocean City, MD for the ECSGA annual meeting at the Maryland Waterman’s Expo on January 28th. The next day features a day of shellfish aquaculture-related sessions put together by Gef Flimlin and John Ewart. I hope to see many of you there. -RBR



New Food Guidelines Fail to Emphasize Fish

  The recently released Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 authored by HHS and the USDA failed to emphasize the benefits to health of eating fish and shellfish.

   In August, a federal panel of nutritionists recommended eating at least two fish meals per week, but the new U.S. dietary guidelines released by HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson and USDA Secretary Ann Veneman on January 12th failed to include this recommendation.  These guidelines are updated every 5 years, and are the basis of the USDA “food pyramid”.

   Seafood Business, in a December 2004 front-page  article based on the committee findings in August, went so far as to give a heads-up to the seafood industry to get ready for the increased marketing opportunities that would come from the expected release of this information.

   ECSGA has discussed this situation with the National Fisheries Institute and they are working to see why the nutritional panel recommendation was not incorporated in the advice issued by USDA.  Stay tuned!..-- Ed



   The ECSGA Board of Directors voted in November to join the Molluscan Institute starting in 21005.  The Molluscan Institute is part of the National Fisheries Institute (NFI), based in McLean, Virginia, and is a major voice for the U.S. seafood industry.  The Molluscan Institute has its roots in the old Shellfish Institute of North America that for years was the main organization representing the shellfish industry.  Both the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association and the Gulf Oyster Industry Council are already Institute members.

   In addition to keeping us abreast of national and regional issues and going to bat for us in the D.C. arena, NFI is helping schedule our appointments with U.S. Senators and Representatives during the annual “Walk on the Hill” that will take place during the last week of January.  We will also meet with PCSGA and GOIC at the NFI offices that week to coordinate our efforts and make our Hill visits more effective.   For additional information on NFI and the Molluscan Institute, see the following web site: 



Baum Forum, NYC

   The ECSGA made a splash in New York City.  The Baum Forum, “The Blue Revolution and Wild Fisheries: Issues, Technologies and Taste” was held at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center in October.  The forum explored food choices in seafood, from both the wild fisheries and aquaculture perspectives.  The keynote address was given by Carl Safina, President, of the Blue Ocean Institute.  Tim Fitzgerald, of Environmental Defense, spoke of the potential environmental concerns with fisheries and aquaculture and Ed Rhodes gave a talk emphasizing the benefits of shellfish aquaculture.  The forum was co-sponsored by the Continuing Education and Public Programs at CUNY the much of the audience was made up of Culinary Arts students.

   At the mid-day break, the ECSGA put on an elegant oyster tasting, with product from five of our grower’s farms.  Thanks especially to Perry Raso (East Matunuck Oysters), and Beth and Bill Walton (Bee's River Oysters) who provided oysters, but were also at the event to shuck and talk about their products.  Thanks too to Tom Kehoe of K&B who provided the Saddle Rock oysters and arranged the shellfish shipments to NYC and to Jeff Gardner (Watch Hills), Bob Rheault (Moonstones), and Travis Croxton (Rappahannocks).  Our set-up was

very professional, and hired a ringer shucker, Kingsley, from the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station who helped us keep up with the crowd.

   Beth Walton participated in an afternoon “growers” session, along with a trout farmer from Sunburst Trout Company, Canton, NC and a Tilapia (and basil) farmer from Waterfield Farms International, Amherst, MA.  Beth gave a compelling presentation from the perspective of a small owner/operator of a boutique oyster farm and helped emphasize our message that shellfish are good for the environment.  Shellfish certainly came out on top at the forum as an environmentally sound choice for consumers 

-- Ed


ECSGA Submits BMP Proposal

   In December, ECSGA submitted a pre-proposal to the Northeast Regional Aquaculture Center (USDA) for funding the development of shellfish Best Management Plans.  Sandy Macfarlane and Gef Flimlin have been working to obtain funding for this work but to this point none of the funding agencies have stepped up to the plate on this.  We hope that it works this time!

   The impetus for submitting the proposal to NRAC came as a result of the “shellfish summit” sponsored by NRAC in December.  At that summit a few ECSGA members and some state shellfish extension people met and prioritized the issues that the group felt most impeded progress in growing the shellfish aquaculture industry.  BMP’s were viewed as part of the solution for a number of issues, including public perception of aquaculture, improved internal company management and marketing.

   In the proposal, ECSGA has the lead on the project, and would help Gef and Sandy coordinate a number of industry workshops that would be held in a number of locations.  Some of the project funds would go to ECSGA and be used for this coordination.  We anticipate that the BMP development will take two years to complete.

   We’ll keep you posted on how this develops over the next few months. -- Ed



Visit the ECSGA Website

   Be sure to visit the ECSGA web site often.  We have a new web master; Kathy Rhodes has promised to keep information on the site useful and up-to-date.  Please send any information you’d like to share or any comments, complaints, or complements to  Depending on the sensitivity of the material, she will clear it with the Executive Director, the President or the Board and post it as quickly as possible.  Of particular interest would be upcoming conferences and meetings, job postings and industry related developments in the legislature and handy hints for your fellow growers.  Thanks for your help in making our website truly valuable.

-- KR


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The mission of the ECSGA is to promote responsible commercial shellfish aquaculture through market research and promotion, active involvement in public education, participation in policy formation at the state and national levels, and directed research.


Contents of this Issue


Shellfish Notes ……………………………………....... page 1

National Shellfisheries Association 2005 Meeting .page 1

Mouth of the Bay ..…………………………………,..... page 2

New Food Guidelines Fail to Emphasize Fish ..…. page 2

ECSGA joins NFI…………………………..………......  page 3

Baum Forum, NYC …………………......……....….....   page 3

Visit the ECSGA Website..…………..……….…........  page 4



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