General Aquaculture Education for the Public


While it is critical to provide education to new & existing shellfish farmers, the growth in aquaculture in the Ocean State signals an opportunity to provide education to the general public and interested citizens on what aquaculture is, looks like, and offers to Rhode Island. The Coastal Resources Center/Rhode Island Sea Grants has been offering community events, bringing government, industry and community interests together to engage in productive dialogue about the benefits – jobs and revenue – and concerns – noise, odor and equipment appearance — that emerge in municipalities that host shellfish aquaculture activities. An educational series, including talks from historians, ecologists, legal experts, as well as field trips to local shellfish farms are all part of the program.

Events are hosted by the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (URI GSO) Coastal Resources Center /Rhode Island Sea Grant, through a partnership grant from NOAA’s National Sea Grant office, in collaboration with CRMC and Roger Williams University. All events are free and open to the public.

2016 Events:


Join the Coastal Resources Center & Rhode Island Sea Grant in a three-part public education experience on aquaculture in the Ocean State. Learn – from soup to nuts –what aquaculture is, looks like, and the policy and science. Tune in for a detailed description of the history and science behind the 5% Rule for aquaculture in the salt ponds, learning from those who were there to shape the original policy. Share your ideas, concerns, and emerging opportunities you see in aquaculture throughout the events and these will be compiled and discussed in detail at a public forum in the summer. Events are stand-alone, so it is not required to attend all. All webinars will be made available online for those who wish to review and build individual understanding and fluency with aquaculture. All events are free. Please rsvp to

WEBINAR: Recorded live Monday, October 24, 2016

“Aquaculture 101 for the Public” – Participate in this free, interactive Webinar, from your computer at home! Learn everything about aquaculture in Rhode Island – How many farms and acreage are in the state, a brief history and aquaculture’s beginnings, details about an aquaculture business and what it looks like on the farm, the different gear used, sound farm practices, ecological considerations, fun facts about shellfish, the policy around leases, the management process, the different agencies and groups involved, health and safety, and more. Learn also about some of the key science experiments underway in RI on aquaculture and hear future science needs and predications.



WEBINAR: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 from 4:00-5:00PM


“Understanding the 5% Rule for the Coastal Salt Ponds” – Participate in this free, interactive Webinar, from your computer at home! Learn from those who were involved in shaping the 5% Rule for aquaculture in Rhode Island’s coastal salt ponds. The rule states that no more than 5 percent of the salt pond area can be used for aquaculture. Hear the details about the science, policy, and decision-making that was involved to set the rule – Ask questions of those who were involved to gain a clear understanding of why the rule exists. The intention is to allow an open forum of knowledge and experience sharing so as to be better informed about what the rule is and is not.

Supporting Information

Journal Article-Aquaculture-Byron, Jin, Dalton

CRMC Summary of Aquaculture Working Group 2009

“Working Toward Consensus: Application of Carrying Capacity in Management of Bivalve Aquaculture” Carrie Byron

“Rhode Island’s 5% Rule for Coastal Pond Aquaculture” Dave Bengston, 2016

“Aquaculture and Recreation in Rhode Island’s Salt Ponds” Tracy Dalton and Emily Patrolia, 2016

“Consent Needed for Aquaculture Expansion” by Meredith Haas, December 9, 2016

Rhode Island’s 5% Rule for Coastal Pond Aquaculture Webinar- Fact Sheet


PUBLIC MEETING: Summer 2017 

“Addressing Concerns & Opportunities for Aquaculture in RI: A Public Conversation” – Join us at the URI/GSO Narragansett Bay Campus to discuss any and all issues/concerns as well as existing and emerging opportunities around aquaculture in RI. Building from the October and November webinars, compiling your questions and concerns, we will identify the major issues as well as opportunities related to aquaculture and how best to approach these in the short & long term from a policy, community engagement, and science perspective. Policy-makers, researchers, and industry will be present to help inform and shape a knowledge-based discussion with an engaged public. All webinars will be archived and available online for those who wish to review content before the public meeting. All are welcome to attend and help shape a productive & informed conversation. Light refreshments will be served.



Rhode Island’s Coastal Salt Ponds and YOU: A Public Education Series

  • “Our Salt Pond Ecosystems and Shellfish: A Portrait of Point Judith Pond”. Presented by Prentice K. Stout, author of A Place of Quiet Waters: The History and Natural History of Point Judith and the Harbor of Refuge. March 9, 2016, Kettle Pond Visitors Center.
  • Shellfish Research in Jamestown. August 15, 2016