Rebuilding North Carolina’s stocks of shellfish is both an environmental and an economic priority. The state’s current oyster resources amount to just 3 percent to 5 percent of what they were in their heyday in the late 1800s. Members of UNC Wilmington’s marine biology faculty and staff are working hard to help rehabilitate what was once a vital industry along our coast.
An important part of that work is a new data-driven online tool that lets shellfish farmers identify and evaluate waters best suited for shellfish-cultivation leases.
As with many other seafood sources, wild populations aren’t keeping up with demand or with environmental stresses. That is why researchers at CREST Research Park are focusing on helping to develop shellfish aquaculture in North Carolina. Despite significant potential, our aquaculture is lagging behind our neighbors in Virginia.