Shellfish Aquaculture for Enhancement and Restoration on the West Coast
Aquaculture is used to enhance shellfish in the Pacific Northwest by the outplanting of shellfish seed.
In Washington, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife enhances Manila clams and Pacific oysters to support tribal and recreational shellfish harvest. Aquaculture is also used to restore populations of native oysters and abalone on the west coast.
NOAA Fisheries, along with regional tribes, state agencies, the shellfish industry, and non-governmental organizations, is a contributing partner to a long term endeavor to rebuild dense, breeding populations of Olympia oysters in bays and estuaries along the West Coast. In Washington, the proposed goal is to restore 100 acres of native oyster habitat in Puget Sound by 2020, in accordance with the state guidelines. In Oregon, native oyster habitat is being actively restored in Coos Bay. Numerous oyster restoration projects are underway in California including San Francisco Bay & Elkhorn Slough. A new native shellfish hatchery at NOAA Fisheries’ Manchester Laboratory in Washington will provide seed stock for restoration efforts.
NOAA Fisheries is also a partner in efforts to help restore the declining population of Pinto abalone, an edible marine mollusk that lives in Washington's shallow, nearshore waters. Abalone play an important role in the health of marine ecosystems. As "ecosystems engineers," they inhabit subtidal rocky habitat and, via grazing behaviors, condition the habitat for colonization by other species. Abalone are spawned and reared at NOAA Fisheries’ Mukilteo Laboratory prior to being tagged and released.
White abalone are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. NOAA Fisheries is committed to protecting and recovering white abalone through conservation measures taken in close partnership with several partner organizations. Our work includes a program to spawn and rear white abalone in captivity and reintroduce the abalone into the wild.
Shellfish Cultured for Enhancement & Restoration
Pinto Abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana): commercial, restoration
Red Abalone (Haliotis rufescens): commercial, enhancement, restoration
White abalone (Haliotis sorenseni): restoration
Olympia Oysters (Ostrea conchaphila): commercial, restoration
Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas): commercial, enhancement
Manila Clam (Venerupis philippinarum): commercial, enhancement
Shellfish Restoration Factsheet (PDF, 2 pages)
Olympia Oyster Restoration Plan, WDFW (PDF, 26 pages)
Olympia Oyster Guide (PDF, 22 pages)