MOREHEAD CITY — With the number of severe storms impacting the shellfish aquaculture industry increasing every year, there’s an aquaculture workshop being offered next month that will provide tools for growers to help prepare for these storm events.
The state Division of Marine Fisheries and other agencies and organizations are hosting the North Carolina Aquaculture Gear Management and Storm Preparedness Workshop that will be held online 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 8. Registration for the workshop is open.
“We are hoping to bring the success this program has had in other states to North Carolina,” said Jacob Boyd, section chief, Division of Marine Fisheries Habitat and Enhancement, in a statement.
The workshop is an opportunity for shellfish growers and other stakeholders to discuss important issues affecting the shellfish aquaculture industry and help improve gear management and storm preparedness statewide.
Participants will learn how to develop a storm preparedness plan for their shellfish aquaculture farm in line with current state initiatives to improve storm readiness, and how to properly manage, maintain and deploy their gear to avoid loss. In addition to the negative economic impact that lost gear can have on shellfish growers, derelict gear can pose navigational hazards and harm wildlife, according to the division.
Aquaculture gear tags will also be provided free of charge to interested shellfish farmers who attend the workshop.
Other workshop sponsors include National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program, the National Weather Service, and the North Carolina Coastal Federation for the North Carolina Aquaculture Gear Management and Storm Preparedness Workshop, and North Carolina Sea Grant.
“This workshop will be a great opportunity to discuss the importance of environmental stewardship, and provide resources to shellfish farmers in North Carolina,” says Charles Grisafi, Southeast regional preparedness coordinator of the NOAA Disaster Preparedness Program, in a statement. “This is the first time the workshop will be offered in the state of North Carolina.” The organizers hope to offer the opportunity in additional states, he says.