Aquaculture & Fisheries



Connecticut is a major producer of molluscan shellfish, including Eastern oysters and northern quahog clams. In addition to an emerging kelp (seaweed) industry, a number of other marine species are being studied for commercial viability including soft shell clams, surf clams and bay scallops. The state also boasts a large recirculating aquaculture facility that produces European sea bass , several operations that grow trout and baitfish in inland ponds as well as businesses that brow hydroponic plants and marine ornamentals.

To learn more about aquaculture in Connecticut, visit:

Vision: thriving coastal ecosystems and communities

The goal of the Connecticut Sea Grant Aquaculture Program is to support environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture in Connecticut and the Northeast. The program aims to address needs of a growing industry through an integrated program of extension, research, outreach and community engagement.

Tessa Getchis, right, examines oyster seed with Jill Plant of Connecticut Cultured Oysters.
Tessa Getchis, right, examines oyster seed with Jill Plant of Connecticut Cultured Oysters.

Extension staff work with farmers to improve their livelihoods and the productivity of their aquaculture operations. Sector needs assessments and annual meetings serve as the foundation of Extension programming. Examples of Extension work include one-on-one consultations, training courses and workshops and cooperative farmer research. Extension also facilitates linkages between farmers and individuals or organizations involved in research, education and policy. Finally, public engagement is an important part of the Extension program. While Sea Grant strives to support the responsible development of aquaculture, we are mindful that aquaculture like all businesses must be properly sited to succeed. As such we work with communities to better understand their interests and concerns about aquaculture development.


Fishermen practice using immersion suits and life rafts as part of a safety training program in October 2002 hosted by Connecticut Sea Grant.
Fishermen practice using immersion suits and life rafts as part of a safety training program in October 2002 hosted by Connecticut Sea Grant. Photo: Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

Connecticut's commercial fishing sector is a historically important maritime occupation and economic driver, providing local food and jobs. In 2021, Connecticut landings from Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean totaled 8.5 million pounds with an ex-vessel value of $15.4 million. A changing climate has led to a decline in some species including American lobster and winter flounder in Long Island Sound, while warmer water species, such as black sea bass and blue crab, have extended their ranges north and are becoming more prevalent. Recent CTSG research projects have focused on tautog, black sea bass and American sturgeon. Through the National Sea Grant Sea American Lobster Initiative, the effects of environmental change on the resource and fishery from southern New England to the Gulf of Maine is under investigation. The anticipated installation of wind turbines on designated lease areas in federal waters and the associated transmission cables to bring the power onshore to New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, have raised concerns related to restricted/lost access to important fishing grounds and questions about navigational/operational safety and liability, while providing some an opportunity for contractual work. Promoting a culture of safety among commercial fishermen through regular safety training opportunities is an important role for CTSG and its partners.

Tempered optimism is message of National Seaweed Symposium

Seaweed isn’t exotic or strange to the native Alaskan community that is his home, said Keolani Booth during his keynote address at the 2023 National Seaweed Symposium in Portland, Maine, setting the stage for the three-day event last month of robust and varied presentations and networking.

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Fairfield Shellfish Commission volunteers collect the shell from restaurants that participate voluntarily.

Shell recycling initiative being introduced in Connecticut

Empty oyster and clam shells from Long Island Sound shouldn’t be treated like trash. They are vital components of healthy habitat for shellfish and other marine life, and need to be returned to their watery home. That’s the message shell recycling advocates are advancing as part of a new statewide initiative.

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Flier for Foundations of Shellfish Farming course

Register now for shellfish farming course starting Jan. 24

Foundations of Shellfish Farming is a training course for new and prospective farmers and those who simply seek to learn more about aquaculture practices and techniques. Classes will meet at UConn Avery Point on Tuesday evenings from Jan. 24 to April 11.

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