Becca Cox

Environmental Studies, Wellesley College ’22

Fisheries and Aquaculture Vulnerabilities Revealed by COVID-19 Pandemic: Shellfish Restoration as an Alternative Market

Restaurant closure in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic left many fishermen and aquaculture farmers without the means to sell their catch or harvest. Given that the majority of U.S. fishing industry products are consumed in food service establishments, this was a major blow to the livelihoods of many Massachusetts residents. This pandemic has revealed the difficulties of direct commercialization and illuminates the need for the diversification of distribution and consumption pathways, thereby making the Massachusetts fishing and aquaculture industries more resilient. Beginning as an exploration of the potential purchase of over-sized oysters from aquaculture farmers for oyster restoration purposes, this project evolved into a review of oyster, and other shellfish, restoration in Massachusetts and what role adult oysters can play in restoration best practices.