The Connecticut Shellfisheries Mapping Atlas is an interactive online map viewer designed to assist industry and resource managers with planning for and management of shellfisheries activity including commercial and recreational harvesting and aquaculture. It is available free of charge.
Connecticut’s municipal shellfish commissions are responsible for managing shellfisheries within their town waters. Each commission is required to develop a comprehensive management plan that identifies appropriate sites for both recreational and commercial shellfishing activity to avoid potential social (use) conflicts and adverse environmental effects. The use of geospatial information is critical to this decision making process. Previously, data layers including distribution and abundance of marine resources, mooring positions, shellfish classification areas, water quality data and existing harvest areas have been distributed in formats ranging from hand drawn or paper maps to sophisticated GIS datasets. The variety of information and range of technical skill required to utilize these data has been an impediment for municipal managers across the state, most of which are volunteer-based, on a limited budget, and less likely to have training in geospatial technology.
With help from the Connecticut Sea Grant Extension Program and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture, the University of Connecticut Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) has developed an interactive online map viewer to provide industry and local and state resource managers with the tools and information necessary to make informed decisions regarding the siting of shellfisheries activity including commercial and recreational harvesting and aquaculture. The online viewer is built using ESRI’s ArcGIS API for Flex which allows for the creation of rich Internet applications on top of ArcGIS Server.