About the Course
This online course is developed for beginning oyster growers and those interested in learning about the prospects of off-bottom oyster culture in the Gulf of Mexico region. Four virtual sessions provide participants with the basics of how to get started and grow a crop of oysters to harvest. These sessions are made available through collaboration with the University of Florida/IFAS Extension, Auburn University Shellﬁsh Laboratory, and Mississippi-Alabama-Louisiana Sea Grant Programs. In each session, participants are introduced to specialists, extension agents, and resources at these institutions, along with experts in the shellﬁsh aquaculture industry.
Each session consists of short (15 to 30-minutes) video presentations and resource links for additional information. Lesson-related handouts are available for download. A discussion section at the end of each session allows participants in the course to interact with each other and ask questions of the session instructors. Once enrolled in the course, you can start at any time and learn at your own pace. There are no deadlines.
Session 1: Getting Your Farm Started
This session provides information on oyster seed purchasing, site and other start-up considerations including gear selection and installation, planting strategies, start-up costs, risk factors, and business plan development.
- 13 videos with a completion time of 3 hours, 40 minutes
- Available NOW
Session 2: Meet the Gear Suppliers
Manufacturers and suppliers of off-bottom culture gear are featured in this session. Learn about the various gear types available to grow oysters.
- Available NOW
Session 3: Growing a Crop of Oysters
This session focuses on oyster farm management with topics on biofouling control, stocking densities, common mistakes, and predators, pests and diseases. Additional topics include land-based nursery options, ﬁnancial planning, inventory tracking, and storm preparation.
- Available NOW
Session 4: Harvesting a Crop of Oysters
Harvesting and processing regulations for product safety are introduced in this session, along with marketing and product branding strategies.
- Available NOW
Frequently Asked Questions
When does the course start and ﬁnish?
The course starts now and does not end. It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you ﬁnish. The ﬁrst session is available now. As each session comes online during 2021, you will be notiﬁed by email.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I have speciﬁc questions or am experiencing technical difﬁculties?
Join the discussion group for each session to increase your learning experience. Emails of session presenters are provided for speciﬁc questions. You can also contact us via our websites or reach us on Facebook.
Report technical difﬁculties here.
Photos courtesy of Jeremiah Stanley, US Department of Agriculture, Mark Wallheiser; Graphics by Diana Reed
Online Oyster Culture Course Curriculum
- Welcome and Introduction of Instructors (2:26)
- What to Consider in Farm Site Selection (13:17)
- How to Obtain an Off-bottom Lease by State (10:58)
- What to Know about Buying Seed (22:34)
- What is Triploidy? (14:04)
- Oyster Seed Importation Rules by State (5:50)
- Gear Selection and Installation (26:51)
- Know your Knots (9:22)
- Planting Your First Crop (25:22)
- Financial Considerations in Starting Your Farm (15:50)
- Risk Factors in Operating Your Farm (14:36)
- Introduction to the 12 Steps of a Business Plan (33:53)
- Developing Your Farm Business Plan (10:01)
- Oyster ABC’s: Anatomy, Biology, Classification (13:25)
- Welcome and Introduction of Vendors (2:06)
- BST Oyster Supplies
- Go Deep Shellfish Aqua
- FlipFarm Systems
- Ketcham Supply (10:03)
- Outlaw Oyster (1:56)
- OysterGro (14:48)
- Oyster Tracker
- R.A.P. Technologies
- Shell Game Products (0:50)
- Tags (2:29)
- Zapco Aquaculture
- Oyster Culture Gear and Suppliers Workshop
- Welcome and Introduction of Instructors (2:37)
- Rookie Mistakes to Avoid (27:55)
- Options to Consider for Nursing Oyster Seed (11:05)
- Considerations when Selecting Diploid and Triploid Oysters to Grow (22:21)
- Effects of Ploidy, Gear Type, Farm Location, and Seasonal Harvest on Oyster Production along Florida’s Gulf Coast (12:47)
- Floating Gear Comparison for Off-bottom Oyster Culture in Florida (12:04)
- Comparison of Oyster Stocking Densities for Floating Bag Culture in Florida (10:37)
- Review of Oyster Performance Related to Gear Type, Fouling Control, Grading and Tumbling in Alabama (29:26)
- Expansion of Alternative Oyster Culture in Louisiana
- Assessment of Off-Bottom Oyster Culture Techniques on Biofouling in the Gulf of Mexico (17:14)
- Trying to Explain Unexplained Cultured Oyster Mortalities in the Gulf of Mexico Workshop
- Addressing Oyster Mortality in Florida Off-bottom Aquaculture Industry (19:38)
- Oyster Health on Your Farm (18:16)
- Storm and Hurricane Preparedness for Off-Bottom Oyster Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico (12:30)
- Oyster Farm Enterprise Budget Calculator (10:00)
- Oyster Aquaculture Environmental and Community Stewardship (15:07)
- Crop Disaster Assistance Programs provided by USDA Farm Service Agency (25:10)
- Welcome and Introduction of Instructors (2:58)
- Harvesting Oysters: Regulations a Grower Must Follow (9:17)
- Oyster and Seafood Safety Practices (7:41)
- Introduction to Basic Marketing (19:48)
- Developing and Marketing an Oyster Brand
- Marketing, Promotional and Educational Resources (6:22)
- Identifying High-value Market Opportunities for Farmed Oysters (14:02)
- Preferences and Perceptions of Oyster Consumers (10:43)