The latest issue of the Journal of Shellfish Research highlights the Connecticut Aquaculture Mapping Atlas in an article titled, “Shellfish Aquaculture Map Viewers: An Assessment of Design, Data and Functions to Inform Planning and Siting in the United States.”
The article describes Connecticut’s online atlas as a “sophisticated example of a stand-alone map viewer built specifically for aiding in shellfish aquaculture site selection and permitting decisions within Connecticut state waters.” The atlas was created by UConn’s Center for Land Use Education and Research and Connecticut Sea Grant in collaboration with the state Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Aquaculture. The article makes note of its custom-built tools to aid in the planning process for aquaculture siting, and shellfish-specific data layers that include mapping existing beds by category such as state-managed, town-managed, recreational and natural. The Lease and Gear Area toolset, the article points out, is a tool unique to this viewer.
Connecticut is one of 16 coastal states with online aquaculture map viewers, while seven coastal states do not appear to have online viewers, the article states. The Connecticut atlas also has 27 data layers, the largest number of all the viewers. The article examines the Connecticut and Massachusetts viewers as case studies, comparing two different approaches to providing the information. Given the 13 percent annual growth rate nationally in marine aquaculture, the viewers have emerged over the last five to 10 years as increasing important tools to aid in streamlining permitting and avoiding use conflicts, the article states.
Supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, the article was written by Lisa C. Wickliffe, Virginia C. Crothers, Seth J. Theuerkauf, Kenneth L. Riley and James A. Morris Jr.