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Aquaculture is growing fast in R.I.

US - The first oyster farm in Rhode Island was started in 1798, but until now aquaculture has been practiced here on a small scale. But a new report shows the industry is starting to yield more substantial revenue, surpassing $1 million for the first time last year.

The farmgate value of Rhode Island aquaculture products – the value of the product paid directly to the farmer – rose by a dramatic 81 percent in 2006, to $1,348,525, the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council said last month. In 2004, the total value was $572,994.

In addition, the CRMC said, three new farms were added, for a total of 28, and the total acreage increased to 99. Most notably, the agency said, the value generated per acre grew to “an amazing” $13,621, from $8,757 in 2005.

“This year’s report was significant,” said David Alves, the aquaculture coordinator for CRMC. “We’ve been seeing pretty good increases year to year, but one thing that was a surprise was the value per acre. That’s a big jump that shows that investment into the farms is paying off.”

He added: “I wish all the industries in the state could do increases like this.”

Aquaculture in Rhode Island has involved strictly shellfish for the last seven years, according to the report. In 2006, American oysters accounted for 97 percent of the state’s aquaculture harvest, while hard clams accounted for the remaining 3 percent.

The amount of oysters harvested increased 54 percent, the CRMC said, while clam production grew 158 percent.

Source: Providence Business News

the Fish Site Editor

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