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Grant for Alternative Oyster Culture Training Received

Louisiana Sea Grant (LSG) is the recipient of a $386,000, two-year grant from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to provide education and training to the state’s alternative oyster culture (AOC) industry, state agencies and the public. Principal investigator (PI) is LSG Scholar Earl Melancon, and co-PI is Wood Oglesby, LSG’s AOC outreach coordinator.

AOC is when oysters are grown in floating cages or in bottom-placed cages attached to pylons. This method allows the cages to be raised and lowered to protect oysters from predators, fouling and the burial effects of disasters like hurricanes.

This training program begins in January 2024, and supports a $1.8 million grant program that recently ended which expanded AOC operations across the state. That program included establishing and assisting AOC seed nurseries and grow-out facilities, a private oyster hatchery and three areas legally designated as AOC Management Units (parks) that contain multiple farms in one location. Nineteen individuals received AOC farm grants from that program, and the Go-Fish Foundation currently is aiding four others in starting oyster farms in the Grand Isle park administered by the Grand Isle Port Commission.

“Besides regular contact and extensive hands-on fieldwork with alternative oyster culture farmers and park administrators, Louisiana Sea Grant will keep them up to date on state and federal regulations and new technologies,” said Melancon about the new program. “Sea Grant will also have meetings and workshops focused on AOC farmers’ needs and the needs of state agencies involved with alternative oyster culture.”