Expanding green sea urchin production by removing key aquaculture challenges

Lead PI: Coleen Suckling, University of Rhode Island

PI Email: coleensuckling@uri.edu

Co-PI: Stephen Eddy

Project Team: Coleen Suckling, University of Rhode Island; Stephen Eddy, University of Maine CCAR; Luz Kogson, University of Maine CCAR; Dana Morse, University of Maine Sea Grant; David Quinby, Ocean Resources, Inc.; Jordan Kramer, Winnegance Oyster Farm; Sarah Redmond, Springtide Seaweed 

Abstract: This proposal aims to remove the key barriers hindering the establishment of commercially viable sea urchin aquaculture in the Northeast Region. Here we propose to adapt and improve upon existing technology to improve the success and lower green sea urchin seed production costs in the Northeastern US. In tandem we will work to increase awareness of the availability of hatchery seed by working with regional industry and extension staff. In a series of lab trials we will optimize settlement and post settlement conditions and food supplies for recently settled juveniles and increase efficiency for live food production. The best results will then be applied into commercial production to determine the new reduced seed costs. In collaboration with a University of Maine Extension Agent, we will run two conference talks, a workshop and extensive outreach aimed at regional shellfish and seaweed growers to increase awareness of hatchery seed availability, sea urchin value and methodology used for growing out and to generate a sea urchin stakeholder interest group. In addition this project will facilitate new uptake and also works with existing growers who wish to expand their production effort. At project end we will report the new cost of hatchery seed, quantify new production value and quantify medium term uptake.

Project Dates: Dec 2020 – June 2023

Project Funding: USDA Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center