The ASA is proud to announce the kick off to a new marine aquaculture program in Wakulla County, Florida. After months of extensive water sampling, surveying and method research by ASA members, Steve Cushman and Lesley Rankin, Apalachee Bay was deemed to be of sufficient water quality to begin cultivation of shellfish utilizing floating cage grow out systems. With continued efforts assisted by Colin and Charlotte Irons and Andre and Aletheia Lange, an entirely new industry is forming with the potential of creating over 1500 jobs as well as an international marketplace share for Wakulla County seafood.
The cultivation of marine species for harvest which makes up aquaculture is the future of sustainable seafood to meet the ever growing world demand. Beginning with oysters, Wakulla County has the potential to become a US leader in the production of seafood for the world market. During research, it was discovered the triploid oyster shows an improved growth rate exceeding the wild diploid oysters by as much as two times normal growth rates. What this means to the seafood market is a faster, healthier growing oyster that can reach market size in under 12-months. For the nutrient rich, high salinity waters of Wakulla County, it means an oyster that will be highly sought out for its rich succulent flavor.
New businesses have recently formed to take part in the potential industry boom. A new hatchery is under construction which will produce the first Florida based triploid oysters. Also coming by the same group is an aquaculture farm, processing plant and distribution company for seeking out the international market connection.