Roger Williams University Course Will Equip Shellfish Farmers

Non-credit course will teach basic shellfish farming theory and technique

Public Affairs Staff
A photo of two men shellfishing.

BRISTOL, R.I. ­­– The Roger Williams University Center for Economic and Environmental Development is now enrolling students for Applied Shellfish Farming, a non-credit course offered during the winter/spring semester that teaches both aspiring shellfish farmers and aquaculture professionals the ins and outs of commercially growing oysters, quahogs, scallops and mussels.

The 14-week program -- led by Dale Leavitt, aquaculture extension specialist and professor of marine biology at RWU -- is designed to aid new and experienced shellfish farmers to start or grow their shellfish farming enterprise in Rhode Island and other areas of Southern New England.

Topics in the course include: an overview of shellfish farming, shellfish biology, farm site selection, the permitting process and regulatory aspects of securing and maintaining a lease, an overview of shellfish nursery and grow-out systems, risk management strategies, other technical aspects of shellfish farming, and business and marketing management advice. Leavitt complements the class with mentoring and site visits, remains in contact with many participants, and advises shellfish farmers nationwide.

The Coastal Resources Management Council considers the course an unofficial requirement for prospective shellfish farmers. Aspects of the course are also required for individuals wishing to apply for a Recreational Aquaculture Permit in Rhode Island (For more information about the Recreational Aquaculture Permit, contact Leavitt at

The course will be held at RWU’s Bristol campus on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 10, and continuing Tuesday evenings through April 25. This year, the course also will be offered as an on-line webinar, available to anyone with Internet access. More details will be forthcoming on how to sign up for the webinar. If you are interested, please contact Leavitt at

Pre-registration is preferred by contacting Cheryl Francis at (401) 254-3110 or For more details on the on-line version, please contact Leavitt at

The fee for the course is $100 per student, which includes all class materials. Interested participants can also attend individual classes on a drop-in basis for $10 per class.