(April 12, 2017) --

Auburn University is now enrolling students for Oyster Farming Fundamentals, a non-credit course offered during the summer semester that teaches both potential and current commercial oyster farmers the basics of off-bottom oyster aquaculture. The 15-hour course, led by Bill Walton, Extension Specialist with Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Associate Professor in Auburn University’s School of Fisheries, Aquaculture & Aquatic Sciences, is intended to provide oyster farmers in Mississippi and Alabama a foundation of knowledge to start and/or improve their oyster farming operation.
 
Topics in the course will include oyster biology, hatchery basics, nursery options, seed handling, farm site selection, overview of off-bottom culture gear, methods to control fouling, splitting and grading, business planning, risk management, permitting, public health considerations and marketing.
 
The course will be held at Auburn University’s Shellfish Laboratory on Dauphin Island on Saturday mornings from 9 am to noon, beginning on June 3rd and ending tentatively on August 12th. Classes are tentatively scheduled for June 3rd, June 17th, July 8th, July 22nd and August 12th. Participants will also have the option of receiving at least 10,000 oyster seed to gain hands-on experience with oyster culture, and the opportunity to use one ~100 yard run of oyster farming gear within the Grand Bay Oyster Park through the end of March 2018.
 
All participants will be required to develop a basic business plan, provide a formal evaluation of the program, document any oyster production in the training program, follow best management practices at the training site, and return any loaned gear in clean, working order to AUSL.
 
For information about enrolling and eligibility requirements, please contact the following:

  • Alabama – Bill Walton, 251-654-3392 
  • Mississippi – Jason Rider, 228-523-4037
  • Alma Bryant High School students – Julian Stewart, 251-604-2605