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: shellfish.uconn.edu
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.
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.
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.
The 2024 “Foundations of Shellfish Farming” course will be offered at the UConn Avery Point campus over 12 weeks starting Jan. 16. The classes will meet on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. through April 2 in Room 312 of the Lowell P. Weicker Jr. Building. Registration is open and financial aid is available.[Read More]
Plant-based alternatives to meat, milk and other foods derived from animal products are the fastest growing sector of the food industry, as more consumers identify as “flexitarians” who want to eat in a healthier, more environmentally friendly way.[Read More]
Two federal grants totaling almost $600,000 will help launch two initiatives considered crucial to the long-term viability of the state’s aquaculture industry. The grants will fund a two-year project to assess aquaculture workforce development needs and a mobile lab to support the seaweed industry.[Read More]
For More Information
Seaweed Cultivation: CTSG Outreach and Extension Activities
Northeast Aquaculture Management Guide, edited by Tessa Getchis
View our fisheries publications.
View our aquaculture publications.
View the Connecticut Seafood Survey report.