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. 

Course Format

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

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Online Oyster Culture Course Curriculum

  Getting Your Farm Started
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days after you enroll
  Meet the Gear Suppliers
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days after you enroll
  Growing a Crop of Oysters
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days after you enroll
  Harvesting a Crop of Oysters
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days after you enroll

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