Best Practices

ECSGA's BP Manual

In September 2023 the ECSGA updated its 2010 Best Management Practices manual and renamed it, "Best Practices for the East Coast Shellfish Aquaculture Industry."

Since Best Practices are developed with grower input, they often achieve higher rates of acceptance and compliance than regulations since they lead to a greater level of buy-in and an ethic of peer pressure and self-enforcement.

This 2023 revision of the original 2010 document involved several workshops and conference calls to collect views and recommendations on the management and handling of floating gear and on how growers might improve the provision of ecosystem services associated with shellfish farming. The project was made possible through support provided by The Nature Conservancy, through the SOAR Shellfish Growers Resiliency Fund.

The original manual incorporated input from  hundreds of stakeholders who attended 22 workshops. It was funded by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center, and NOAA's Office of Aquaculture.

To create your own farm-specific BP document use our Best Practices Form. It  contains all the best practices described in the Best Practices Manual, presented as a series of check boxes. You can select the best practices used on your farm and submit the form. This triggers the sending of an email with an attached pdf containing some generic principles and explanations, along with the specific best practices you selected. The email contains a link to a free version of Adobe’s pdf-to-MS-Word file converter, so you will end up with a downloaded Word file that you can tweak, format, add images to or embellish however you want.

Aquaculture Gear Management

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Aquaculture, developed an extension-style publication based on information from a 2018 gear workshop in Cedar Key, Fla. It covers best management practices for shellfish gear; marine debris facts; lease stewardship and  public perception; how to reduce, reuse, recover and recycle; shellfish gear management strategies; preparing for severe weather; and important resources.

Marine Litter and Aquaculture Gear

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council sets criteria  for how certified farms should implement policies for waste reduction and recycling; and for  responsible storing and disposal of waste. Going forward, the ASC is also reviewing the need for new criteria/indicators targeting specifically the issue of marine litter, plastics and ghost gear, for implementation in future revisions of its standards or guidance documents.

Read the ASC's whitepaper here.