On Thursday, April 21, at 7:00 p.m., at the University of Delaware’s College of Marine Studies in Lewes, John Ewart, aquaculture specialist with the Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service, will present “Inland Bays Shellfish Aquaculture: Helping Those Clamoring for More.” Ewart’s lecture will kick off the Ocean Currents Lecture Series, which is held at the Lewes campus on the third Thursday of each month, from April through September.
After giving a historical perspective of shellfish in Delaware’s Inland Bays, Ewart will discuss the ecological and economic importance of having healthy shellfish populations. He also will describe the applied shellfish aquaculture research and demonstration work being done in collaboration with the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays.
“The use of aquaculture technologies can make an important contribution to the conservation, enhancement, restoration, and management of wild shellfish stocks,” says Ewart. “Other potential benefits include the improvement of estuarine water quality and fish and shellfish habitat as well as the economic stability of coastal communities.”
Oyster gardening is one program where the use of aquaculture is helping to ensure the continued health of shellfish in the three Inland Bays (Rehoboth, Indian River and Little Assawoman). This program relies on citizen volunteers, who live along the waterways, to grow baby oysters in floats or mesh bags from their docks. Once these tiny oyster “spat” have grown to an inch or longer, they are transplanted to the James Farm demonstration oyster reef on Indian River Bay where they can continue to grow and provide food and habitat for marine organisms.
A member of the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service since 1985, Ewart focuses his efforts on the development of aquaculture programs in Delaware and in the Mid-Atlantic region, serving as a liaison between industry, researchers, state regulatory agencies and the public. He maintains the Delaware Aquaculture Resource Center, which serves as a primary source of information on all aspects of aquaculture in the Mid-Atlantic region as well as a gateway to the National Sea Grant College Program’s Network of Aquaculture Information Services. In addition, he coordinates the employment service of the World Aquaculture Society and is an active member of the National Shellfisheries Association.
Ewart earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Rhode Island in Kingston in 1973 and a master’s degree in marine studies from the University of Delaware in 1985.
The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Room 104, Cannon Laboratory, at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes. The hour-long talk will be followed by light refreshments.
While the lecture is free and open to the public, seating is limited and reservations are required. To reserve your seat, please contact the college at (302) 645-4279.