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National Shellfish Initiative

Oyster farming, Cambridge, MD


NOAA Offices


A volunteer helps transplant oysters in Yaquina Bay, OR.

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In 2011, NOAA established the National Shellfish Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to increase populations of bivalve shellfish in our nation’s coastal waters—including oysters, clams, abalone, and mussels—through both sustainable commercial production and restoration activities.

Since its inception, NOAA and its partners have made welcome progress on many fronts with the initiative. Check out what we’ve accomplished so far.

Benefits of Shellfish

NOAA recognizes the broad suite of economic, social, and environmental benefits provided by shellfish, including

  • jobs and business opportunities;
  • meeting the growing demand for seafood;
  • habitat for important commercial, recreational, and endangered and threatened species;
  • species recovery;
  • cleaner water and nutrient removal; and
  • shoreline protection.

Working with Partners

Efforts are underway with partners in several states  to expand opportunities for shellfish farming and restoration.  A comprehensive partnership in Washington is promoting new economic opportunities, restoration, improved water quality, and science.

We will work with public and private partners on:

  • spatial planning and permitting
  • environmental research
  • restoration and farming techniques
  • financing


For more background on the National Shellfish Initiative, including contact information by region, check out the National Shellfish Initiative Fact Sheet.