A program to educate individuals about shellfish aquaculture has quietly gotten underway in Damariscotta and Blue Hill. It’s not a training program for commercial growers; instead, it provides an opportunity for ordinary citizens to learn about shellfish biology and husbandry, predators and diseases, environmental impacts and regulations. The program, Muriel Hendrix reports elsewhere in this issue of WWF, “is teaching people who previously had no training in aquaculture how to raise oysters for their own consumption.”
This one-person-at-a-time approach makes a lot of sense for Maine, where well-sited shellfish aquaculture projects offer real opportunities for individuals interested in contributing to the restoration of depleted stocks. An added benefit, of course, is more people with knowledge about aquaculture and what it can mean for Maine. The program’s based on a foundation-sponsored effort in Chesapeake Bay, where people were taught how to raise baby oysters that could eventually be released to replenish stocks there.
Of course, one doesn’t even have to be so public-spirited; the value of raising a few oysters for home consumption should be obvious to anyone with taste buds.