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Add To Calendar 24/02/2016 14:30:0024/02/2016 14:50:00America/ChicagoAquaculture 2016Physical and Social Dimensions of Shellfish Aquaculture on the US west coast LoireThe World Aquaculture Societyjohnc@was.orgfalseanrl65yqlzh3g1q0dme13067DD/MM/YYYY

Physical and Social Dimensions of Shellfish Aquaculture on the US west coast

Bobbi Hudson*, Thom Allen, Danna Moore, Andrew Suhrbier and Hannah Faulkner
Pacific Shellfish Institute
509 12th Ave SE #14
Olympia, WA 98501
bobbi@pacshell.org

Geospatial data was combined with research on the public perceptions of shellfish aquaculture. The overarching goal of this effort was to assist coastal decision makers identify and understand the spatial and social context in which shellfish aquaculture takes place, or could potentially take place. Pacific Shellfish Institute (PSI) and partners at Washington State University's Social and Economic Sciences Research Center first surveyed residents of ten coastal counties across Washington, Oregon and California to explore two overarching questions: "Are these communities opposed to or supportive of continued or expanded shellfish aquaculture?" and "What are the implications for aquaculture planning and development?" The survey solicited 1,250 responses (34% response rate) and generated data covering a wide range of issues. When coastal residents were asked if they had ever seen a shellfish farm, 52% of survey respondents answered no, while another 4% said they simply didn't know. The survey revealed the general view that shellfish farms "neither enhance nor detract from the scenery of coastal areas" and their greatest benefits are derived through: "providing locally produced seafood", "improving the local and state economy", and "relieving pressure on wild fisheries." Opinion regarding shellfish farming is generally favorable, but survey responses also indicate a need for improved education surrounding both aquaculture practices and consumer seafood preferences.

A second survey was distributed to a broad array of local planners, federal and state agency staff, representatives of natural resource industries, citizen groups and conservation non-government organizations in the three states. This survey produced 254 complete responses (25% response rate). Opinion of the shellfish industry, from the perspective of these shellfish stakeholders, mirrors citizen responses in many regards. When asked to rate the shellfish industry for its environmental stewardship, 54% responded "excellent", 21% responded "good", 21% "fair" and 4% "poor". Specific recommendations for improving public awareness of shellfish aquaculture issues were provided by some respondents.

PSI and partners also compiled existing maps in the three states, depicting areas where shellfish aquaculture takes place and the physical structures that support shellfish operations. The goal was to integrate this data into existing marine spatial planning tools, such as state coastal atlases. The combined spatial and social information can support shellfish aquaculture planning and development, as well as public outreach and education efforts. This work was funded through Washington Sea Grant, pursuant to NOAA award #NA14OAR4170078.

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