Doing Our Part To Preserve and Enhance
We are more than just a shellfish farm, we are doing our part to contribute to the communities around us. NBSF is committed to creating a system of growth which allows for the facilitation of positive change in the local eco-system.
Dedicated To The Communities Around Us
At Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm we are committed to community. Our program to restore the Niantic Bay Scallop is progressing much quicker than initially anticipated. This is happening due, in part, to the fact that we are a business. We have the means necessary to cultivate the scallops more quickly than any local shellfish commission can. As we build our stock of Niantic Bay Scallops, we are developing a breed that will thrive in the river and bay.
The southestern Connecticut shoreline has a rich history of commercial fishing. We are continuing this tradition with our shellfish farm and a large by product are the positive environmental impacts that our farm has on the river and bay.
Because we are monitored by many regulatory agencies, the local towns benefit from the data that these agencies develop to monitor our farm. For instance, the Bureau of Aquaculture monitors rain in a given area to determine shellfish area openings and closures. Our local towns were paying thousands of dollars to maintain their rain gauge to meet this requirement. NBSF worked with the Bureau of Aquaculture and secured a new rain gauge that is accurate, free of charge, and is wirelessly monitored by the Bureau of Aquaculture. The importance of an accurate rain gauge means that recreational shellfish areas are open more frequently.
NBSF is available for educational opportunities for our local schools. While the workings of our farm are certainly fascinating; more importantly, we have access to an incredible artificial reef by way of our shellfish racks. This offers students the unique ability to learn more about the shoreline and what lives beneath the waves of the river and bay. We invite people to stop by and visit our processing boat on the river whenever we are there. This provides a great opportunity for seeing first hand, the efforts we are making to improving the environment around us.
Dedicated To The Environment
So often people associate aquaculture businesses with a negative for the environment when in fact, the contrary is true. In fact, while plenty of businesses use the water to make a living, very few give back to the environment the way that aquaculture does by way of providing cleaner water and massive production of habitat.
Aquaculture gives back to the environment by its very nature, in several different ways. Shellfish are filter feeders. The average adult oyster filters over 50 gallons of water per day. Filtering removes excess nutrients from the water which translates to much cleaner water. By introducing hundreds of thousands of oysters, a cornerstone species, into these waters, NBSF serves the public by filtering millions upon millions of gallons of water which would have otherwise gone unfiltered. These shellfish consume the phytoplankton which blooms in the Bay and River. Due to human development of lands and the use of products such as fertilizer, more nutrients are entering the water, by way of rainwater runoff, than ever before.
This influx of nitrogen causes phytoplankton to bloom in such vast quantities that, if it is not removed from the ecosystem, it can consume all of the dissolved oxygen thus creating dead zones. Furthermore, during the summer months, when the growth of submerged aquatic vegetation (such as eel grass) occurs, such a dense bloom can limit sunlight penetration consequently reeking havoc on the natural habitat which provides food and shelter for soo many juveniles. Due to the fact that the Niantic River is a five Town watershed, it is incredibly difficult to coordinate between all towns. For those who do not live directly on the River, it is hard for them to understand the effects their daily choices have on this essential ecosystem. Consequently, the only potential and feasible buffer, at this point, to protect the watershed from non-point pollution (storm runoff) is shellfish. With cleaner water, not only will eel grass thrive but so will bait fish, juvenile sport fish and natural sets of other shellfish.
Our shellfish and the racks they grow on provide a perfect habitat for juvenile fish and natural shellfish. The structures that are deployed and maintained by NBSF not only house the town's greatest public filtration system but they also have created the largest sub-tidal artificial reef in Town Waters. Prior to deploying these structures in the bay, the bottom was a wasteland of countless slipper shells and the occasional spider crab. Now each rack teems with a plethora of life. Snails, blue crabs, rock crabs, spider crabs, sea robin, sea bass, fluke, flounder, whelks and an assortment of bait fish cling to the exterior of the trays or find refuge within. Some are lured to the cages for safety while others are drawn to the food source which the cages offer. While some predators do sate their desire for oysters, many of the animals continuously groom the cages cleaning them of any macro algae. Lastly, with such high concentrations of the same species, it is inevitable that local, recreational shellfishers will reap the benefits from the spawning activities of these shellfish.
Our shellfish farm is a unique business that lends itself to sustainability and operation under the best green practices possible. A business decision made by an aquaculture business, such as NBSF, is an environmentally charged decision. If we damage the environment we grow our product in, we damage our business. Responsible stewardship in aquaculture creates a strong business model while also educating concerned citizens in their efforts to be advocates for our local waters.
At NBSF we strive for sustainable, environmentally safe practices while running our business. It is in all of our, collective, best interests as we work together towards a cleaner, healthier river and bay.