Public Input Sought on New State Plan to Improve Shellfish Resources

Public Input Sought on New State Plan to Improve Shellfish Resources

Plan topics include research, shellfish restoration, and industry supported activities

The public is invited to review a draft of Rhode Island’s first comprehensive set of management recommendations for shellfish resources, both wild harvest and aquaculture, located in state ocean waters, and provide comments. The review process is a key topic of the SMP Stakeholder Public Meeting scheduled for tonight, Monday, September 29, 5-7pm, Corless Auditorium, URI Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett, RI. Other topics include SMP progress and actions over the last year, chapter overviews, future steps, and summer highlights from industry leaders and state agencies. Find the preliminary version of the Rhode Island Shellfish Management Plan (SMP) and comment form at

Comments will be accepted through November 1. “We encourage anyone who cares about the future of all things shellfish in Rhode Island – from the shellfish resources themselves to the industries that depend on them to the recommendations for how we can work together to improve shellfishing – to come out for this meeting,” said Azure Cygler, project manager for the SMP, of the URI (Graduate School of Oceanography) Coastal Resources Center (CRC), who also represents the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program.

The SMP process began in 2013 to provide comprehensive policy guidance regarding management and protection measures for shellfish, such as quahogs and oysters, located in state marine waters, with the full plan expected to be completed this fall. Throughout the process, stakeholders – including representatives of the wild harvest, aquaculture and restoration communities — have been closely involved in identifying policies and practices to restore shellfish resources and enhance the economic vitality of the shellfishing industry. The plan will be updated as new research and information becomes available. A special celebration to honor the creation of the plan is being developed. For more information on the SMP, contact Cygler at (401) 874-6197 or

The SMP contains recommendations which have been crafted by technical teams and facilitated by CRC and the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program for use by two key state agencies: the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM). Key partners are URI College of Environmental Sciences (URI-CELS), Roger Williams University and the URI Coastal Institute. Funders are the Prospect Hill Foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation, the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, and the Sharpe Family Foundation/Henry and Peggy Sharpe. Input throughout has been provided generously by leaders in the industry, including the Rhode Island Shellfishermen’s Association and the Ocean State Aquaculture Association.