Shellfish Aquaculture Education Project for Farmers and Communities

A two-year shellfish aquaculture project (2015-2017) in Rhode Island is focusing on:

  • Enhancing and expanding the reach of an established course to prospective farmers considering operating in Rhode Island, and
  • Engaging local communities that host aquaculture activities in public dialogue regarding opportunities and challenges associated with the industry.

The aquaculture course, an offering of RWU biology professor Dale Leavitt, Ph.D., an aquaculture expert, is widely considered an important training element for newcomers to the industry. As Rhode Island is working to strengthen its aquaculture sector, and CRMC recommends the course to aquaculture permit applicants, the project will bolster the training component – packaging the course via filming so it can be provided as an online course to a wider audience in 2017. The current in-person course, 40 hours over approximately three-months, is continuing as it has for about two decades. Topics include shellfish farming, biology, site selection and permitting, leasing and business strategies. View current – 2016 course offering information.

The community outreach effort, is bringing government, industry and community interests together to engage in productive dialogue about the benefits – jobs and revenue – and concerns – noise, odor and equipment appearance — that emerge in municipalities that host shellfish aquaculture activities. An educational series, including talks from historians, ecologists, legal experts, as well as field trips to local shellfish farms are all part of the program..

The project team is led by The University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center, at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, in concert with Roger Williams University (RWU), and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). Funding is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Rhode Island Sea Grant.

Check back here for more information or contact Dale Leavitt at or Azure Cygler at Also visit the Roger Williams website at:

Aquaculture Public Education Series:

Rhode Island’s Coastal Salt Ponds and YOU: A Public Educational Series

2016 Educational Series – Speaker Bios

Summer and Fall 2016 Learning Series

Applied Shellfish Farming Course:

Course Schedule 2016

Applied Shellfish Farming Course at RWU to Equip Commercial Shellfish Farmers

Online Course – Available in 2017

Shellfish Harvester Education:

Shellfish Harvester Training

Harvester Education for Safe Shellfish – January 2016 class PowerPoint presentation

Aquaculture of Marine Species in Rhode Island Waters

Best Management Practices for the East Coast Shellfish Aquaculture Industry

Rhode Island Department of Health: Shellfish Inspection Program

Coastal Resources Management Council: Aquaculture

Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Regulations: Part IV Shellfish

Truckers Safe Handling Guide

“From Harvest to Table – The Perfect Shellfish” Safe Handling brochure

Aquaculture Education Project Partners:

Roger Williams University
URI Coastal Resources Center
RI Coastal Resources Management Council
Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program

Aquaculture Education Project Funders:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Sharpe Family Foundation/Henry and Peggy Sharpe

Aquaculture Education Primary Contacts:

Dale Leavitt
Associate Professor of Biology, Roger Williams University

Azure Cygler
Fisheries Extension Specialist, URI Coastal Resources Center/Rhode Island Sea Grant
Tel: (401) 874-6197
Fax: (401) 874-6920