Michael A. Rice, "The Economic & Environmental History of Shellfish Aquaculture in Rhode Island and its Lessons for the Future," Baird Symposium
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Michael A. Rice, "The Economic & Environmental History of Shellfish Aquaculture in Rhode Island and its Lessons for the Future ," Baird Symposium

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Michael A. Rice, Professor Department of Fisheries, Animal & Veterinary Sciences, University of Rhode Island

Michael A. Rice, Professor Department of Fisheries, Animal & Veterinary Sciences, University of Rhode Island

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Michael A. Rice, "The Economic & Environmental History of Shellfish Aquaculture in Rhode Island and its Lessons for the Future," Baird Symposium Michael A. Rice, "The Economic & Environmental History of Shellfish Aquaculture in Rhode Island and its Lessons for the Future ," Baird Symposium Presentation Transcript

  • The Economic & Environmental History of Shellfish Aquaculture in Rhode Island and its Lessons for the Future Michael A. Rice, Professor Dept. of Fisheries, Animal & Veterinary Sciences University of Rhode Island
  • Summary • Milestones in the development of RI’s shellfish industry • Shellfish in the 19th Century diet • Sewage & development of the NSSP • Oysters and the RI economy, then & now • Environmental impact of shellfish; estimates & comparisons, then & now • Implications of decades investments in clean water & renewed interest in shellfish farming
  • Growth of Shellfisheries in Rhode Island • Shellfisheries documented 1643 by Roger Williams • 1734 statute on using oysters in lime kilns • 1766 statute restricting harvest to tongs • Oysters farmed in Rhode Island since 1798 • Oysters considered important food before refrigeration • By 1910, there were 21,000 acres (8500 ha) of oyster farms in Rhode Island
  • Comparison retail price per pound in USA Item Oyster meat Fish* Beef* Chicken* Eggs* Year & Prices 2013inflation adj. 2013 actual $2.83 $19.00 $7.09 10.00 $7.09 6.95 $8.50 2.25 $7.09 2.49 . 1909 $0.12 $0.30 $0.30 $0.36 $0.30 *Bone or shell-free price estimates Sources: MacKenzie 1996; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; 2013 market surveys
  • Average RI & CT landing prices of oysters per US standard bushel (~80lb) Year Prices Actual US$ 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 $1.22 0.63 1.09 0.65 0.74 1.12 1.08 2.41 9.57 14.00 26.26 59.60 92.00 115.00 . Inflation adjusted to 2013 US$ $56.70 20.79 46.07 17.01 8.65 15.69 18.04 23.39 75.61 84.39 74.53 106.65 124.65 123.34 Sources: MacKenzie 1996; Greg Silkes, American Mussel (pers comm); U.S. Dept. of Labor Inflation Statistics.
  • Invention of the flush toilet greatly increases sewage to Narragansett Bay • 1901 “The Providence Sewage Treatment System is put into operation. The chemical precipitation plant, the third of its kind in the United States, is the largest of its type ever built. The system consists of a pumping station at Ernest Street to lift sewage to Field's Point for treatment.” • 1910 “Providence's sewage treatment plant begins to run into problems due to inadequacies of the chemical precipitation process and the continuing growth of the City. Providence begins barging and dumping large volumes of sludge into Narragansett Bay, east of Prudence Island, about 14 miles south of Providence.” Source: Providence Journal & Narragansett Bay Commission History
  • Consequences of the Sewer System 1900-1925 • Incidences of water-borne diseases down 90% in the city • But, millions of liters of wastewater pour into Narragansett Bay • Increase of bacterial diseases (typhoid & cholera) associated with eating shellfish • Concerns by public health officials about epidemics • Media reports and several wealthy individuals die from shellfish – calls for action • NSSP instituted in 1925
  • Price of a dozen half-shell oysters Typical RI Restaurant Prices Year 1885 1890 1910 1920 2013 actual inf. adj. 0.36 $14.88 0.12 4.02 0.15 3.54 0.25 2.92 19.95 19.95 Source: MacKenzie (1996).
  • RI Oyster Lease Fees Paid to State 160000 140000 Lease Fees ($) 120000 100000 80000 60000 40000 20000 0 1860 1880 1900 Year 1920 1940 Oyster lease area facts • Peak is 1912 at about 21,000 acres • Peak lease fees inflation adjusted to 2013 = $3.26 million Source: RI Commissioners of Shellfisheries Reports
  • RI Oyster Production Statistics 1911 25000 Lease Area (acres) 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 1860 1880 1900 Year 1920 1940
  • Current Status of Rhode Island Aquaculture Year Am. Oysters Quahogs Eu. Oysters Value Farms Acres Leased $86,668 5 8 1995 87,800 92,514 1996 126000 187629 2000 $92,120 6 9 1997 192225 160886 9125 $275,946 6 17 $296,980 10 26 1998 343700 165456 0 1999 352775 246642 15000 $214,836 14 28 2000 550582 87897 $314,977 12 30 2001 543978 122196 $299,998 18 51.5 2002 908000 138199 $478,160 18 53.75 2003 1,163,519 22477 $563,891 20 61 $572,994 22 70.3 2004 1,138,718 23048 2005 1,530,815 32,745 $744,319 24 85 2006 2,357,736 84,500 $1,348,525 28 99 2007 2,551,493 34,195 $1,587,857 30 123 2008 2,680,036 25,150 $1,692,195 30 123 2009 2,821,166 52,000 $1,785,135 33 134.5 $2,326,948 38 141 2010 3,852,414 76,900 2011 4,072,186 58,400 $2,459,761 43 160.25 2012 4,303,866 81,425 $2,822,734 50 172.55 Data Courtesy of David Alves & David Beutel, CRMC
  • What about Carrying Capacity? 25000 • landing 2012 397 mt • area 20,846ac = 8,436ha 172.5ac = 69.8 ha • production 6.8 mt/ha 5.6 mt/ha 20000 Lease Area (acres) 1911 57,825 mt 15000 10000 5000 0 1860 1880 1900 Year 1920 1940 Conclusions of Pietros & Rice (2003) mesocosm study: •1911 production levels can shift phytoplankton species composition…but does not affect overall biomass of phytoplankton Conclusions of Byron (2011) modeling study: • Ecological CC= 119,436 mt of cultured oysters in a total area of 37,400 ha = 3.2 mt/ha • Production CC =1,301,520 mt of cultured oysters in a total area of 37,400 ha = 34.8 mt/ha
  • Decline of RI oyster farms 1912-1952 • Increase raw sewage inputs 1910s • Deforestation & cumulative effects of soil erosion • Increased metal finishing effluents starting 1870s to 1980s • Gov. T.F. Green’s ‘bloodless revolution’ of 1935 and sociopolitical change • Hurricane of 1938 • Labor shortages during WWII • 1952 – last farm, Warren Oyster Company gave up leases Herbert Marshall Howe Farm In Bristol, ca1900 Hurricane damage, 1938
  • --- but, fixing the problems since • • • • • • • • • 1925 National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) 1933 USDA Soil Conservation Service (now NRCS) 1972 Clean Water Act & EPA StB & other enviro-activism RIDEM Water Resources & CRMC NBC: CSO abatement & the RI Big Dig RIDEM F& W shellfish management 1981 to 2003 overhaul of aquaculture laws & Many others serving as a major investments in clean water Photo by Gilbane Construction Company
  • Environmentalism & Economics for Working Waterfronts & Sustainable RI Shellfish? Dykstra’s Oyster House, Upper Point Judith Pond, Wakefield ca1910 Why not?
  • Thank you for sustainable RI shellfish from party animals, everywhere!! 1852 Lithograph by Elijah Chapman Kellogg (1811-1881)