Oyster Aquaculture Certification
The oyster aquaculture certificate program was developed as a sustainable alternative to wild oyster harvesting to help bolster the seafood industry in Wakulla County. Wild harvesting in the Apalachicola Bay area has suffered for years due to drought, disease and over-harvesting, leading the federal government to declare a fishery disaster in 2013.
The program’s mission is to give students the tools to open their own businesses by teaching them how to farm-raise oysters in Wakulla County.
Non-credit certificate course work covers farming methodology, aquaculture rules and regulations, lease set up, crop management and boater safety. Learning occurs in both the classroom and on WEI’s five-acre management agreement lease site in Oyster Bay.
This twelve-month course gives students the tools to become a successful businessman and oyster farmer. Students will participate in twelve weeks of coursework both in the classroom and in the field learning the procedures, rules, regulations and methods associated with oyster aquaculture. In addition, students are required to complete six weeks of businesses classes and create a business plan to prepare them for owning and operating a business. Once course work is completed students are allocated the equipment, oysters and lease site needed to start their business, a $15,400 value. The student will retain these materials after reimbursing the college for their cost out of their first oyster harvest. Students are required to own/have access to a boat and sign a contract before beginning the course.
This is a limited-access program with a waiting list.
Course Fee: $200 at beginning of class; equipment reimbursement in the amount of $15,400 after first harvest.
For more information or to be placed on the waiting list, contact Bob Ballard at firstname.lastname@example.org.