I-95 Rhode Island Southbound Exit 9 To: RI 4 S, E Greenwich No Services, at Apponaug, RI near East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Ok now, Road Team, take a quick glance out over the water on your left. You will see a line of yellow buoys and four large red mooring balls. Underneath them is a shellfish farm. It is growing oysters.
Back in 1973, concerned about the impact of growing demand for seafood on the world's oceans, French Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau wrote: "With earth’s burgeoning human populations to feed, we must turn to the sea with new understanding and new technology.”
Growing seafood, or aquaculture, is booming business in New England. Aqua-cultured shellfish in Rhode Island include various oyster, mussel, and clam species. These bivalves are filter feeders. This means they rely on what’s called “ambient primary production” rather than feeding on inputs of fish, or meal, or other feed. In other words, they filter water for tiny food like plankton and organic material. As such, shellfish aquaculture is generally perceived as benign or even beneficial. On top of creating great seafood, this type of Aquaculture actually cleans the water. Pretty cool huh?
Depending on the species and local conditions, bivalve molluscs are either grown on the beach, on longlines, or suspended from rafts and harvested by hand. Here in Rhode Island most are grown in salt ponds where tides flush the estuaries twice a day. If you have a time for a meal, why not get off I-95 at the next exit and drop by some of the local clam shacks on Route 4 and Scenic Route 1. You will not find fresher or more delicious seafood anywhere in the world!
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