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Biofouling in Marine Molluscan Shellfish Aquaculture: A Survey Assessing the Business and Economic Implications of Mitigation

Adams, Charles M., Shumway, Sandra E., Whitlatch, Robert B., Getchis, Tessa
Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 2011 v.42 no.2 pp. 242-252
biofouling, business enterprises, clams, economic impact, growers, industry, mariculture, operating costs, oyster culture, scallops, shellfish, surveys, trays, United States
The culture of oysters, clams, scallops, and other molluscs is collectively one of the fastest growing sectors of the domestic aquaculture industry. An inherent issue with shellfish culture methods, particularly for off-bottom culture (i.e., floating trays, racks, long lines, strings, rafts), is biofouling. Controlling and mitigating biofouling can result in significant costs for commercial shellfish culture operations. A survey of existing commercial shellfish culture operations was conducted among growers in seven US regions. A total of 1375 surveys were distributed. An overall response rate of 37% was achieved. The survey solicited information on business descriptors, perceptions of biofouling as a problematic issue, and costs associated with control. Respondents indicated that efforts to control biofouling accounted for an average of 14.7% of total annual operating costs. Survey findings suggest that the total costs associated with biofouling control by shellfish growers in the regions studied exceed $21 million. Over 40% of respondents indicated that biofouling affected the marketability of their product. The survey findings reveal significant variation in responses by region.