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Aquaculture Grower Profiles

October 23, 2020

Marine aquaculture is an important industry. In many fishing and coastal communities, aquaculture creates year-round jobs that support resilient working waterfronts and economic development.

Two employees use rakes to clean algae off of oyster bags. Farmers cleaning oyster bags. Clean bags allow more water to get through for the shellfish to filter feed.

Aquaculture producers work at all hours in all conditions, with weathered hands flipping oyster cages, plucking fresh kelp from their lines and tending net pens. These aquaculture producers are also committed stewards of the environment, managing their farms with sustainability in mind. In these Tide to Table Profiles, aquaculture farmers explain the stewardship and care that goes into keeping their crop as well as their businesses alive. Learn more about aquaculture and try a recipe idea straight from the farmers. 


Atlantic Tide to Table Aquaculture Profiles 

The U.S. aquaculture industry produced $1.5 billion worth of seafood in 2017, with 39 percent of that value coming from the Atlantic region. Along the Atlantic coast, these small businesses are helping to serve as a model of sustainability in aquaculture.

Bangs Island Mussels

Long dropper ropes full of mussels are being pulled up out of the water.
The Bangs Island Mussels on these droppers are ready to be harvested and sorted by size.

Bangs Island Mussels raises shellfish and seaweed in Maine’s Casco Bay, using a space-efficient process called rope growing. Mussels provide ecosystem benefits by removing excess nutrients from the water as they grow.

Get to know Bangs Island Mussels

Madhouse Oysters

Two Madhouse Oysters employees shucking oysters at a farmers market.
Two Madhouse Oysters employees shuck oysters at a Maryland farmers market.

On a tiny chain of islands in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, Madhouse Oysters cultivates the Eastern Oyster. Entrepreneurial shellfish farms like this one provide sustainable jobs for the local community.

Get to know Madhouse Oysters 

Pacific Tide to Table Aquaculture Profiles 

Pacific aquaculture production is very diverse. Key nearshore shellfish species include oysters, clams, and land-based facilities growing red abalone. Offshore species include Mediterranean mussels, rock scallops, finfish, and a variety of seaweeds. Aquaculture enterprises in the region are helping expand access to fresh seafood and year-round aquaculture jobs.

Chelsea Farms

A hand holding an oyster on the half shell.
A just-shucked Bonita Oyster from Chelsea Farms.

Chelsea Farms is a family-owned enterprise that is making great strides toward restoring the population of native oysters in Washington's South Sound.

Get to know Chelsea Farms

The Cultured Abalone Farm

Two hands holding fresh abalone from The Cultured Abalone Farm.
Sustainably grown abalone from The Cultured Abalone Farm.

In California's Santa Barbara Channel, The Cultured Abalone Farm raises red abalone using state-of-the-art tanks, water from the channel, and locally harvested seaweed.

Get to know The Cultured Abalone Farm

Kualoa Ranch

A rainbow over the coast of Kualoa Ranch.
At Kualoa Ranch, a variety of sustainable aquaculture methods are used to grow shrimp, oysters, and tilapia.

On the island of Oahu, Kualoa Ranch provides sustainable food opportunities and continues the tradition of Hawaiian fishpond aquaculture.

Get to know Kualoa Ranch

Seagrove Kelp Co.

Floating orange spheres mark the waters of Seagrove Kelp Co.
Kelp farms allow growers to make use of existing aquaculture resources in their areas.

Kelp farms like Seagrove Kelp Co. are still fairly novel in Alaska, but this fast-growing industry is already increasing year-round job opportunities along the coast.

Get to know Seagrove Kelp Co. 

Gulf of Mexico Tide to Table Aquaculture Profiles 

Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico focuses on stock enhancement to supplement wild populations, seafood production, research, and restoration efforts. Species cultured in the region include oysters, clams, shrimp, red drum, almaco jack, spotted seatrout, pompano, black seabass, and algae. In the favorable Gulf climate, aquaculture farmers produced more than 24.9 million pounds of shellfish in 2017. 

Pelican Oyster Co.

Oyster baskets float on the water at Pelican Oyster Co.
Floating baskets like these allow the oysters to grow safely in the gulf. Other animals make use of the floating gear as well.

In the Gulf of Mexico near Florida's Big Bend, the Pelican Oyster Co.'s crop of "Salty Bird" oysters filter the water and help other species flourish.

Get to know Pelican Oyster Co.

Sustainable Seafood from Tide to Table

The Tide to Table series profiles members of the aquaculture community, who provide valuable jobs and increase access to fresh, sustainably sourced seafood in the United States. Aquaculture is about more than just seafood production. It is about ecosystem stewardship, coastal communities, and economic opportunities.


Understanding Marine Aquaculture

The United States has a small and vibrant commercial marine aquaculture industry supported by world class research and technology.

Shellfish farmers harvest mussels.

Last updated by Office of Aquaculture on February 09, 2024

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