CREST Research Park

Experimental Shellfish Hatchery

Shellfish Research Hatchery

UNCW's Shellfish Research Hatchery is an 11,000-square-foot facility on the CREST campus that provides researchers a laboratory to study oysters and other North Carolina shellfish species. Faculty and graduate and undergraduate students study the life cycles and spawning habits of the environmentally and commercially important shellfish species. Research projects include studies on water flow, types of algae and the impact of predators. This research is vital to knowing more about shellfish and helping to rebuild their population on Eastern U.S. shores.

The hatchery opened in 2010, a partnership between UNCW and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Aquarium Division. It's objective is to study the state's shellfish species, with a focus on the oyster population. The research will develop techniques for rehabilitating and farming the state's shellfish species. The state's oyster population has suffered drastic declines. Once one of the state's largest industries, oyster harvesting brought in catches of more than 2.5 million bushels annually in the early 1900s, but declined to around 42,000 bushels a year by the late 1990s.