Best management practices for the control of blister worm on oyster farms
We worked closely with one oyster farmer to conduct a preliminary experiment testing preventative treatments for blister worm. This work enabled us to make progress despite the delay in receiving SARE funding and the results from this experiment have facilitated changes in that will improve our experimental protocol for 2015. During the past four months we also completed a draft of a survey intended to evaluate the prevalence and impact of blister worm on Northeastern oyster farms and an initial draft of a blister worm Fact Sheet.
Twenty northeastern oyster farms with annual aggregate sales of about $4 will each implement a comprehensive polychaete pest management plan. This will reduce pest prevalence and improve crop quality compared to prior years, avoiding an estimated $4 million aggregate loss in annual sales.
- 1000 members of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association receive updated on-line survey on the impact, prevalence and distribution of blister worm and invitation to participate in blister worm education program. We have completed a draft of the survey and are awaiting peer review before distributing the survey to ECSGA listserv members in the spring of 2015.
- 100 oyster growers return survey (10% return rate), and 80 express interesting in joining education program. February 2015.
- Research component of project testing preventative treatments for blister worm established at two oyster farms in Maine. Workers at these farms receive training in monitoring for blister worm larval abundance (plankton sampling), settlement, and reproduction. Due to the delays in receiving SARE funding, we initiated a pilot experiment at the Bagaduce River Oyster Co. farm (Jesse Leach, participant) during the summer of 2014. This experiments has helped us refine our experimental approach and will allow us to complete this milestone in the summer/fall of 2015.
- Participants in blister worm education program receive regular email/blog updates on project progress and efficacy of preventative treatments. Expected completion: October 201
- 40 farmers attend first workshop at the Milford Aquaculture Seminar on blister worm biology, reproduction and settlement, receive update of project goals and progress and begin development of best management plans for blister worm prevention. We are still aiming to conducts this workshop in February 2016.
- Second year of activities testing preventative treatments for blister worm established at two oyster farms in Maine. March-April 2016
- Fact Sheet on blister worm biology, reproduction, and population dynamics, and preventative treatments for blister worm distributed to 1000 members of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association. We have already initiated a primary draft of the Fact Sheet and sent it out for peer review. Expected completion May 2015.
- 60 farmers attend site visit at either of our two grower-participant farms to receive hands on training in blister worm prevention. Expected completion: July 2016
- Additional 40 farmers attend second workshop at the Northeastern Aquaculture Conference and Exposition on blister worm biology, reproduction and settlement, receive update of project goals and progress and begin development of best management plans for blister worm prevention. Expected completion: December 2016.
- Twenty farmers utilize educational opportunities, outreach materials or site visits to develop, adapt and adopt best management protocols resulting in reduction of blister worm impacts on market viability of oysters. Expected completion: October 2017.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
We have no impacts or outcomes to report at this time, as the bulk of our research and education program is only getting started.
Sea Grant Extension Officer
Maine Sea Grant Program
Darling Marine Center
193 Clarks Cove Rd
Walpole, ME 04573
Office Phone: 2075638386
University of Maine
5751 Murray Hall
Orono, ME 04469-5751
Office Phone: 2075814326