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Mike Joannides Jr. and Dale Parsons Jr. use high pressure hoses to move the recycled shell off the barge and onto the lease bottom.

New Jersey Aquaculture

Aquaculture is the production of aquatic organisms under controlled conditions throughout part or all their lifecycle. Its development can help meet future food needs and ease burdens on natural resources.

NRCS-NJ offers financial and technical assistance for conservation practices related to shellfish aquaculture, oyster reef habitat restoration, and finfish aquaculture through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). All conservation practices available through EQIP are approved for the Aquaculture Initiative. 

Conservation Practices

Gear Cycling
Rack Replacement
Oyster Bed Restoration or Enhancement/Replenishment
Shoreline Protection
Agricultural Energy Management

Other Supported Practices Include: 

Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Project: NJ COASTAL Aquaculture Project

Oyster mesh cages stacked on the shores of New Jersey.

The Ocean County Soil Conservation District was awarded a 2022 Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project to enhance aquatic habitat on shellfish leases and improve water quality throughout the Coastal Bays of New Jersey by increasing producer participation in NRCS conservation programs. RCPP funding will be used to increase regional shellfish aquaculturist participation in oyster reef creation. Project success will be evaluated through documentation of oyster growth and/or spat set increases coupled with estimating oyster filtration rates.

Find more information on this project and learn how aquaculturists can get involved: NJ COASTAL Aquaculture Project

Rebecca Watson

Soil Conservationist, covering Atlantic, Cape May, and Cumberland Counties

Kristin Adams

Aquaculture Specialist, partner employee with the Ocean County Soil Conservation District, serving Burlington, Camden, and Ocean Counties