The Massachusetts aquaculture industry is a very diverse sector of the Commonwealth’s agriculture industry. Although the cultivation of aquatic species (specifically shellfish and crustaceans) was practiced by the Native Americans and later by the colonists on Cape Cod, it was not until the 1970s when more efficient cultivation techniques were developed that commercial cultivation activities began. Since that time aquaculture in Massachusetts has grown to include more than 15 species of fish and shellfish that are cultivated for food, research, biomedical, sport and ornamental purposes.
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries reported that the Massachusetts shellfish aquaculture industry generated more than $6.2 million in 2006. At that time, there were more than 350 individuals and companies involved in aquaculture in Massachusetts with nearly 300 as marine shellfish culture enterprises growing primarily Quahogs (hard shell clam) and American oyster. The Commonwealth’s finfish growers produce a variety of species of finfish, including barramundi, tilapia, largemouth bass, black sea bass, brown bullhead, several species of trout, and several species of baitfish.
Although there are a number of institutions, organizations and government entities involved in the Bay State’s aquaculture industry, the primary trade group working for the industry is the Massachusetts Aquaculture Association.
- Division of Agricultural Conservation and Technical Assistance
- Massachusetts Aquaculture White Paper and Strategic Plan
- Aquaculture Industry
- Permit Assistance / Regulatory Streamlining
- Technical Assistance & Information Resources
- Aquaculture Education
- Shellfish Aquaculture Best Management Practices (BMPs) file size 1MB
- Aquaculture Operation Description Form
- Aquaculture Permit Guidance Document