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Location: Forage Seed and Cereal Research

2005 Annual Report

1.What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? What does it matter?
The West coast shellfish culture industry consists of oyster, clam and mussel growers from Alaska to California and companies that market these commodities and generates an estimated $100 million dollars in gross annual sales. Nevertheless, domestic production does not meet national demand and this trade imbalance is expected to grow. Oysters are farmed intensively on the west coast and represent about 60% of the total value of farmed shellfish product. Maintenance and expansion of this industry is currently constrained by several problems including a lack of pest control measures for two species of burrowing thalassinid shrimp that comply with federal state, and local environmental regulations concerning the impact of shellfish farming practices on the estuarine environment.

West coast oyster production employs diverse rearing practices that include raising seed in hatcheries, growing product on the estuarine tideflats, off-bottom culture (on stakes, ropes, and in bags on racks), and harvesting the final product. Many of these practices require a firm bottom substrate to permit oyster propagation and harvest. In some locations, colonization of the substrate by burrowing shrimp reduces the stability of the substrate to the extent that oysters are covered by silt and suffocate or that rearing and harvesting operations cannot proceed. Where this occurs, pest control is necessary. Oyster growers in Washington State have applied the pesticide carbaryl to control shrimp for the past 40 years, but recently agreed to terminate its use by the year 2012 as part of an out-of court settlement over a permitting issue. This has clearly heightened the search for an environmentally acceptable and sustainable alternative.

The overall project research objective is to develop shellfish culture, pest/predator control and harvest methods which are environmentally and economically sustainable for the west coast industry. Specific short term objectives are.
1)to identify critical stages in the life cycle of burrowing shrimp that are vulnerable to control measures and.
2)to map oyster aquaculture operations, eelgrass beds and burrowing shrimp populations at the estuarine landscape scale and conduct a spatial analysis to quantify the interaction between oyster aquaculture practices, burrowing shrimp recruitment and movement, and fish utilization of these estuarine habitats as predators and parasite hosts. This research is conducted in support of ARS National Program 106 - Aquaculture (100%) and addresses NP106 components of.
1)Integrated Aquatic Animal Health Management and.
2)Sustainability and Environmental Compatibility of Aquaculture.

A science based integrated pest management strategy that incorporates alternatives to the current practice of applying a pesticide to control burrowing shrimp will greatly benefit the aquaculture industry and address environmental concerns. The information developed by this project will provide critical data to managers and policymakers and permit development of best management practices for the shellfish industry. Expansion of markets for domestic farmed aquaculture products based on a sustainable product and environmentally acceptable practices will also create jobs in ancillary industries and support and expand employment and associated services in economically depressed coastal communities.

2.List the milestones (indicators of progress) from your Project Plan.
This project replaced CRIS project 5358-63000-001-00D effective 7/14/2005 (Normal Progression) approved through the OSQR process.

Year 0 (2004) Recruit a research ecologist, set up and equip a functioning laboratory and field research program.

Year 1 (2005) Initiate a sampling program for juvenile and adult shrimp in three coastal estuaries. Establish shrimp molting and mating experiments. Survey shrimp beds for predators and parasites. Conduct laboratory control experiments with juvenile shrimp. Conduct laboratory experiments on electrofishing and bait attractants. Complete aerial photography of Willapa Bay. Initiate ground-truthing project for eelgrass and conduct shrimp and oyster surveys. Ortho-rectify aerial photography and create GIS layers.

Year 2 (2006) Continue to collect shrimp, predators and parasites from coastal estuarine populations. Publish results from predator/parasite surveys. Collect and analyze historical oceanographic data. Continue shrimp molting/mating experiments. Continue laboratory tests on control of juvenile shrimp. Complete laboratory sample analysis of infaunal predator surveys. Conduct additional laboratory experiments on electrofishing and bait attractants, publish and expand to field tests if promising. Finish groundtruthing of aerial photos and complete burrowing shrimp and oyster population surveys. Complete GIS layers for eelgrass, burrowing shrimp, and oysters.

Year 3 (2007) Continue to collect shrimp, predators and parasites from coastal estuarine populations. Develop shrimp recruitment model. Finish shrimp molting/mating/ageing experiments and publish results. Finish laboratory tests on control of juvenile shrimp and publish results. Publish results of predator surveys and predation experiments. Conduct pheromone attractant analyses. Conduct spatial analyses of Willapa Bay GIS map data. Collect fish samples from randomly selected locations in appropriate landscape scale habitats in Willapa Bay.

Year 4 (2008) Continue to collect shrimp, predators and parasites from coastal estuarine populations. Complete shrimp recruitment model Analyze data and publish population dynamics model for shrimp. Complete spatial analysis of GIS layers and historical data and publish results. Continue to collect fish data from various landscape scale habitats in Willapa Bay.

Year 5 (2009) Continue to collect shrimp, predators and parasites from coastal estuarine populations. Test and publish shrimp recruitment model. Analyze field experiment results and publish pheromone paper. Analyze data and publish fish habitat use paper.

4a.What was the single most significant accomplishment this past year?
Information was needed to establish a basic understanding of geospatial relationships between estuarine ecology and commercial aquaculture enterprises. Aerial photography of Willapa Bay, perhaps the most significant site of Pacific Northwest commercial oyster aquaculture, was completed by the ARS oyster ecologist housed at the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, OR. These aerial photographs provided the basis for future mapping of aquaculture beds, other estuarine habitats, and shrimp and predator/parasite populations. This research will be used by the ARS program and university researchers to develop integrated pest management strategies to control burrowing shrimp that impact commercial oyster aquaculture in the region.

4b.List other significant accomplishments, if any.
A basic understanding of burrowing shrimp ecology is essential to develop new integrated pest management practices. This will replace the long-term use of carbaryl to reduce the impact of two species of shrimp on commercial oyster production. The ARS shellfish ecologist demonstrated that ghost shrimp recruitment continues to be relatively low in northwest bays and that mud shrimp are highly infested with a bopyrid isopod parasite which may be controlling their populations. These data will help establish an approach to predict shrimp recruitment and the potential need for shrimp control measures at aquaculture facilities in these estuaries.

4c.List any significant activities that support special target populations.

4d.Progress report.

5.Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact.
None. This is a new project.

6.What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end-user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products?

7.List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. (NOTE: List your peer reviewed publications below).
“A new program to investigate integrated pest management practices for Pacific Coast shellfish production” Oral presentation at 59th Annual Conference of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association and Pacific Coast Section of the National Shellfisheries Association” in Tacoma, Washington October, 2004 and separate oral presentation with same title at a Burrowing Shrimp Workshop held for oystergrowers and others in Long Beach, Washington February, 2005.

“Assessing the potential for augmentative biological control of burrowing shrimp in estuarine aquaculture” Oral presentation at the Pacific Estuarine Research Society conference in Coos Bay, Oregon March, 2005.

“The ecological role and potential impacts of molluscan shellfish aquaculture in the estuarine environment” Oral presentation to the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District Interagency Coordination Committee in Eureka, California, December, 2004.


Project Team
Dumbauld, Brett
Banowetz, Gary
Project Annual Reports
  FY 2008
  FY 2007
  FY 2006
  FY 2005
Related National Programs
  Aquaculture (106)
Last Modified: 05/14/2009
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