1623 Whitesville Rd.

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Volume 3:05

October 15, 2005



Contents of this Issue

ECSGA Update

Overview of Florida Hard Clam Culture Industry and Market

New Survey: US Adults Eating More Seafood

OYSTERS Good for the sex drive

Triploid Crassostrea ariakensis

EPA Sewage ‘Blending’ Proposal Thwarted!

Eco-Friendly Shellfish


ECSGA Update


It has been a very busy summer for the ECSGA. Many of us have spent a huge amount of time and effort fighting the petition to list the American oyster as an endangered species. Several of us have made many trips to DC to inform our congressional delegations about the ramifications of this frivolous petition. I testified to the House Resources Committee and made a presentation to NOAA’s Eastern Oyster Status Review Team pointing out that a listing would severely impact the oyster market and cause more harm than good to both the species and the environment.  Several states have issued resolutions condemning the petition and numerous politicians have rallied to our side.


Late September brought ECSGA’s third trip to DC this year, and it was by far, our most productive visit yet. Karen Rivara, Tom Kehoe, Ed Rhodes and myself were joined by Mike Garvey (owner of the Grand Central Oyster Bar) and Joe Gergela (of the Long Island Farm Bureau) and a large contingent of Gulf Coast growers. We were there to kick off the formation of the Congressional Shellfish Caucus and support efforts to fund relief for oyster farmers impacted by Hurricane Katrina.


The Shellfish Caucus is a group of like-minded Representatives and Senators who have agreed to support shellfish-related issues. This is a very exciting development for our industry. All representatives have been invited to join the six co-chairs on the Caucus and we have received a great response so far. I encourage everyone to ask their Congressperson to join up because the bigger this group is, the more clout it will have. Frankly I can see no downside to being a member of the Caucus as there is no anti-shellfish lobby group.


From left: Ed Rhodes, Karen Rivara, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Mike Garvey, Tom Kehoe


The six co-chairs include Thelma Drake (VA) Brian Baird (WA), John Larson (CT), Bobby Jindal (LA), Mike Thompson (CA) and Henry Brown (SC) – making the Caucus a bipartisan team that represents molluscan shellfish interests on all three coasts. The kickoff event at Phillips Flagship Restaurant featured half a dozen varieties of donated oysters and clams and attracted a roomful of representatives and their staff. This event was made possible by NFI and by generous donations from many different sectors of the shellfish industry. These events offer a great opportunity to meet politicians and introduce them to the issues.


While we were in DC we visited staffers from dozens of Senators and Representatives and reacquainted them with our issues. We are cautiously optimistic that we will see several positive developments from all this effort. While we were there we supported our Gulf coast brothers who were in town seeking funds for restoration of the gulf oyster industry following the devastation of hurricane Katrina. The ECSGA continues to work on issues of concern to growers such as the repeal of the Byrd Amendment, which is leading to 15% tariffs on all oysters exported to Canada. We have shown that oyster aquaculture removes more than 357 tons of nitrogen and 110 tons of phosphate from the coastal environment each year, and the benefits to the marine environment are significant.


ECSGA sponsored two oyster festivals this year generating some much-needed revenue for the association. At the Block Island at the Spring House in July we shucked nearly 3000 oysters while at the Milford Oyster Festival in late August we served 8,000 oysters to a huge crowd of eager eaters. Thanks to all those who participated.


The ECSGA “Fresh Oysters” booth at the Milford, CT Oyster Festival


All of this effort and travel costs money, which to this point has been born by a few dedicated individuals. We thank our members for their support, but we need to do a better job of recruiting new members so we can continue this work. Please spread the word.

Bob Rheault


An Overview of the Florida Hard Clam Culture Industry and Market


Chuck Adams and Leslie Sturmer

University of Florida and Florida Sea Grant College Program


The commercial culture of hard clams has exhibited unprecedented success as an aquacultured food item industry in Florida.  There are now over 400 certified hard clam growers in Florida, who manage 1,800 acres of submerged lands dedicated to leases.  Approximately 70 percent of the industry is located on the west coast of Florida, with the highest concentration of growers located in the Citrus/Levy Counties region.  The industry is dominated by small, individually owned/operated culture operations.  Cultured hard clam production increased from about 8.8 million clams in 1991 to approximately 134 million clams in 2003.  Sales by growers increased from $1.2 million in 1991 to $15.9 million in 1999.   The industry was estimated to have generated approximately $40 million in economic impact to the Florida economy during 1999.   However, total grower sales decreased from $15.9 million in 1999 to $13 million in 2003, the decline in sales value being due to persistent price decreases to the growers.  For example, average prices per clam (e.g., littleneck prices in Florida) declined from 12.8 cents in 1997 to 9.7 cents in 2003.  The price decline is thought to be associated with an increased supply of clams being forced into a market characterized by a lingering weak demand.  The outlook for the market by growers, however, is deemed more positive as seed plantings increased from 290 million in 2002 to 350 million in 2003, matching a previous high seen during 2001.


The Florida hard clam culture industry was struck hard by the 2004 hurricane season.  Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne cut paths across the major hard clam culture regions.  Hurricane Frances and Jeanne pummeled the Indian River and Cedar Keys regions, resulting in virtually 100 percent loss (planted clams) in the Indian River area and about 30 percent loss in the Cedar Key area.  Hurricane Charley decimated the clam growers in the Charlotte Harbor region, resulting in a 100 percent loss of planted clams.  Overall, it was estimated that at least 50 percent of the planted clams in Florida were lost due to the hurricanes.  The losses were estimated to be $15 million in crop production losses.  However, substantial losses were also experienced with respect to industry infrastructure, such as hatcheries, nurseries, off-loading docks, boats, etc.  With such losses on the lease sites, it is anticipated that production in Florida will be down over the next 1 to 2 years.  The impact of the resulting market disruption to the region’s industry has yet to be fully appreciated.  




New Survey Reveals US Adult Seafood Eaters Say

They're Eating More Seafood Now Than Five Years Ago

Red Lobster Press Release;

April 19, 2005


Seafood Consumption Data Support New Food Pyramid Recommendations

Easy Tips for Adding Seafood to Your Diet Also Provided


ORLANDO, Florida -- With today's announcement that the revised Food Pyramid urges Americans to "get started" on a healthier lifestyle, a new survey by Harris Interactive® reveals that 51 percent of US adults who have ever eaten seafood say they are eating more seafood now than they did five years ago. Additionally, about two in five seafood eaters (41%) say they eat seafood because recent studies suggest it is healthy for the heart.


The survey, commissioned by Red Lobster, also discovered that:


* More than three in four US adults (77%) say they eat seafood at least once a month.  Only about one in ten (9%) say they never eat seafood.


* The top two types of seafood frequently consumed by US adult seafood eaters are shrimp (61%) and canned tuna (57%), followed by salmon (39%), crab (23%), catfish (22%), fresh tuna (22%), cod (17%), and mollusks, such as mussels, clams, or oysters (16%). Other types of seafood consumed frequently include: lobster (11%), halibut (10%), haddock (9%), rainbow trout (9%), tilapia (9%), snapper (8%), and grouper (4%).

* About two-thirds of US adult seafood eaters (67%) say they eat seafood because it is a welcome alternative to meat and chicken. Additionally, 68 percent note that they purchase seafood such as salmon, shrimp, and sushi at their local supermarket or grocery store.


The new Food Pyramid recommends eating lean or low-fat meat and poultry, and advises Americans choose fish more frequently because it contains healthy oils. The Pyramid specifically recommends eating fish such as salmon and trout because they are rich in heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.


"Seafood is versatile and can be prepared in countless ways to please almost any appetite," said Kim Lopdrup, President of Red Lobster. "Seafood is a naturally healthy protein that's low in fats, calories and carbs. How many foods can you say that about?"


Good for the sex drive and a relief from arthritis!


Source : Archives


We have all heard that oysters can boost the libido and make champions of the bedroom, but the less heard story is one of greater importance to those suffering from arthritis. Of the many shellfish that also include crabs, lobsters, clams and shrimp, oysters shells are a rich source of glucosamine sulphate. Having been around for almost 500 million years, and possibly one of the first inhabitants of earth, these shellfish have indeed survived the wear and tear of time. They have brought us many natural health benefits and now also a relief from the pain of arthritis in the form of glucosamine sulphate.  See the whole article at:


Triploid Crassostrea ariakensis

AJ Erskine


The Virginia Seafood Council deployed 800,000 genetic triploid Crassostrea ariakensis in Fall 2003 to study the economic feasibility of aquaculture and marketing success.  As requested this presentation covered only the aquaculture project associated with C. ariakensis, although, 10,000 genetic triploid C. virginica were also deployed and results are pending market trials.  Economic feasibility was determined by tracking each participants investments (both initial and ongoing) and their returns (profit).  Investments ranged from a few thousand to several thousand dollars yet returns were consistently higher than expenses for each grower.  Of the total crop planted approximately one-third went into the half-shell market while remaining oysters were marketed as shucked product.  Shelf-life is a consideration for C. ariakensis as it seems to be shorter than C. virginica.  Preliminary results indicate that seed planted intertidally have a longer shelf-life than subtidally grown oysters.  Triploid C. ariakensis shucking yield was extremely high, ranging from 7-17 pints/bushel.  Consumer acceptance was generally high, although some questioned whether these were Pacific oysters because of the "black ring" around the gill region.  Since C. ariakensis and gigas are both native to regions in Asia, this comes as no surprise, although consumers reported that their taste is completely different. Shuckers regularly reported C. ariakensis were easier to shuck compared to C. virginica.  Across all sites, C. ariakensis grew faster than C. virginica, most likely attributed to a longer growing season, but this also makes C. ariakensis susceptible to winter exposure events.




House Voted to Block Administration Plan to Ease Sewage Dumping Regulations


WASHINGTON (May 20, 2005) – The House of Representatives last night voted overwhelmingly to block the Environmental Protection Agency from finalizing its so-called ‘sewage blending’ proposal, which would have allowed sewer operators more latitude on when they could release partially treated sewage into the nation’s waters. A few hours before the House passed a bipartisan anti-sewage dumping amendment to an appropriations bill, the EPA announced its decision to drop the controversial policy.


Faced with the prospect of an embarrassing defeat in the House, the EPA and its congressional allies had no choice but to wake up and smell the sewage. They finally got the message that people want less, not more sewage in the water they drink, the rivers where they fish and the beaches and lakes where they swim.


With this victory, Congress delivered a strong message reminding EPA that its mission is to protect our health and environment. We’re especially grateful to those who led the fight to safeguard us from sewage, particularly Representatives Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), Clay Shaw (R-Fla.), Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.).


The ECSGA and PCSGA worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Clean Water Action, American Rivers and the League of Conservation Voters in a unique collaboration that brought business people who make their living on the water together with environmentalists who share the common goals of preserving the water quality of our nations coasts and reducing illness due to waterborne diseases. Together we were able to mobilize enough pressure to force our public officials to do the right thing.


Robin Downy of the PCSGA and Bob Rheault of the ECSGA spoke in January at an NRDC-sponsored hearing in Washington DC. We explained the issue to a standing room crowd of congressional aides trying to make them understand the potential impact of the EPA’s proposed rule to relax sewage dumping.  This resulted in a letter co-signed by over a hundred Congressmen and women opposing the EPA’s plan. The issue was high on our priority list as we visited with our congressional delegations, and letters and phone calls from constituents kept pressure on our legislators despite heavy pressure from administration operatives who wanted to justify cutting the budgets for state sewer infrastructure improvements. In May a bill was submitted to block the EPA’s proposal and it was gaining steam when, finally, the blending policy was killed when an amendment to EPA’s appropriation bill to cut funding to implement the blending policy passed overwhelmingly.


To any of you who wrote a letter or made a phone call or sent an e-mail; Thank you! You deserve a pat on the back. This was an important win for shellfish farmers. Keep those phone numbers handy, there are sure to be more battles to fight.


Bob Rheault, President, ECSGA


Eco-Friendly Shellfish

From Environmental Defense’s August 2005 Newsletter:


Farmed mollusks such as clams, mussels, oysters and bay scallops are some of the most eco-friendly seafood available. These species are often grown away from the ocean floor on racks, nets or ropes, which means they are harvested without destructive bottom dredging. And because they are filter feeders, they also improve water quality. If you eat seafood, get more eco-friendly tips



ECSGA Officers

Robert Rheault, President

Tommy Leggett, Vice President

Karen Rivara, Secretary

Gef Flimlin, Treasurer


  For advertising rate information contact
Bob Rheault (401) 783-3360


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.