Oyster Planning Tool

Full Title: SPAT: Shellfish Portfolio Assessment Tool

Lead Investigator (Institution): Daniel R. Petrolia (Mississippi State University) d.petrolia@msstate.edu

Co-investigators (Institution): Ardian Harri (Mississippi State University), William C. Walton (Auburn University), Just Cebrian (Dauphin Island Sea Lab), and Jason Rider (Mississippi Department of Marine Resources)

Technical Monitor: Becky Allee (becky.allee@noaa.gov)

Award Amount: $590,143

Award Period: June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2020

Summary: The State of Mississippi has established an ambitious goal to produce one million sacks of oysters per year and to increase the ecological and economic benefits to the state from healthy and productive natural oyster reefs and farms. This project draws on knowledge from economics, ecology, marine extension, and resource management to design, test, and put into use a decision support tool to optimize the restoration and use of oyster resources in the State of Mississippi. Their approach recognizes that oysters provide a number of ecological and economic benefits and decisions about their management are most informed when the entire suite of benefits is considered. The team will begin by determining the type and extent of benefits delivered by three distinct oyster cultivation practices – restored oyster reefs, traditional shell plantings, and off-bottom oyster farms – and assign a monetary value to both their market and non-market benefits. They will then develop budgets of construction and maintenance costs for restored reefs, plantings, and farms. Finally, the team will work in conjunction with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to develop and test a decision support tool that directs the user through multiple criteria to select the portfolio of oyster cultivation practices that minimizes downside risk while maximizing benefits.