aquaculture | WCAI


Sarah Mizes-Tan / WCAI

Cape Cod’s shellfish farmers face many challenges, and one of the biggest is dealing with harmful algal blooms, which can damage shellfish and be poisonous for humans to ingest. But a new project at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is looking at a way to better manage this with the help of a tiny camera.

U.S. Air Force photo, Anthony Nin Leclerec,

Aquaculture is currently the third-most lucrative fishery in New England after lobster and scallops. Oysters and, increasingly, kelp, are two of the most commonly grown.

Now, a new study says aquaculture could also be an important way to address issues like nutrient pollution and habitat loss. In fact, the study found that New England’s waters are among the top 20 locations in the world with the greatest opportunities for restorative aquaculture.

Samantha Fields

Last week, a leaked presentation from the acting director of NOAA hinted at some major new directions and initiatives for that agency. One of the most concrete goals: the United States should triple aquaculture production in the next decade.

Sarah Tan / WCAI

Kelp farming is on the rise around the Cape and Islands, as more growers are finding reasons to love this ocean crop. From researchers like Scott Lindell at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute who want to farm the crop for biofuel, to shellfishermen in Chatham who want to sell it to food markets, the past two years have seen an increase in permits and requests for permits for kelp fishing. 

Sarah Tan / WCAI

Oyster farming has become a popular local industry—so much so, that Cape Cod may be running out of space for more, as wait lists are growing in many towns.

Massachusetts shellfish growers and oyster aficionados have suffered a string of unusual closures in recent weeks. Large swaths of New England waters have been closed to shellfishing because of a harmful algal bloom that could cause amnesic shellfish poisoning, while officials closed Wellfleet Harbor after an outbreak of the stomach bug, norovirus. While the two events are unrelated, they have one thing in common – the closures are likely to last weeks.

Ghost Swimmer is a fish-shaped robot, currently used by the Navy, but design firm Boston Engineering says it could be modified to monitor fish farms.
Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Edward Guttierrez III / U.S. Navy

Experts in fish farming and robotics gathered in Woods Hole, MA, this week to discuss how they could work together to produce more seafood with less money, less risk to humans, and less damage to the environment.

To give you an idea, here's what fish farming in U.S. waters looks like right now.