Shellfish Research and Information
Services for the U.S. West Coast

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The man with a plan

PSI researcher, Andy Suhrbier helps shellfish growers adapt to changing ocean conditions.

Tracking Shellfish Aquaculture Production

Develop information collection and data visualization tools to assist sustainable shellfish aquaculture growth and management through accurate and reliable production reporting

Collaborative tracking of shellfish production data in Washington State

U.S. west coast shellfish production accounts for two-thirds of all bivalve aquaculture sales and exceeds $128 million a year, with Washington accounting for 85% of the commercial product. Ensuring harvest reporting integrety is crucial to accurately and reliably informing economic analyses to support the productivity and sustainability of shellfish aquaculture.

Quantifying the shellfish industry’s value also enables us to demonstrate losses in production due to seafood trade restrictions, catastrophic events, changing ocean conditions, and the impacts of burrowing shrimp and other pests. The COVID-19 pandemic and the 2021 “heat dome” event demonstrated the dire need for accurate aquaculture production data. Without this information, governments struggle to identify policies and administer financial assistance programs for businesses to facilitate community repair and revitalization.

Project Summary: This effort is a “win-win” for shellfish managers and the shellfish aquaculture industry. Our outputs will be useful for ongoing economic analysis, business planning, marketing efforts, public health compliance, as well as shellfish disease and pest risk management and response. The project will: 1) Determine shellfish production information needs for public health requirements, state reporting requirements, and economic contributions and impacts; 2) Develop, through stakeholder and agency engagement, data collection protocols, the data portal, and multi-agency access for production information; 3) Survey selected shellfish farms to calculate the relative cost of materials and labor involved in various bivalve shellfish growing practices; 4) Conduct regional shellfish aquaculture production and value analysis, utilizing current data and updating a 2015 WA Sea Grant report; and 5) Develop an online “economic dashboard” for the output of objective 4.

Team Leaders: Bobbi Hudson (PI), & Co-PIs Dr. Trina Wellman, Dr. Kevin Decker of WA Sea Grant, Dani Toepelt from the WA Dept. of Health, Chris Eardley from the WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, Laura Butler from the WA Dept. of Agriculture, Kim Thompson from the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, and David Beugli of the Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association. This project is funded through NOAA-OAR-SG-2020-2006331, administered by Washington Sea Grant.

Measuring Economic Impacts: IMPLAN Northern Economics, Inc.

Read prior shellfish production reports:

Shellfish Aquaculture in Washington State

The Economic Impact of Shellfish Aquaculture in Washington, Oregon and California

Economic Analysis to Support Marine Spatial Planning in Washington