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Rhode Island university offers free online training

June 16, 2023  By Hatchery International staff

(Photo: Shucked Oysters - URI Coastal Resources)

The University of Rhode Island is offering a new skill-building aquaculture course for beginner oyster farmers.

The course is called “Entry-Level Oyster Farm Worker/Science, Safety & Best Practices for Oyster Farming Workers” and is available in the university’s online platform. It is made up of 16 modules, each under one hour, and includes a wide range of topics such as Ropes & Knots, Basic Shellfish Biology, Lifting Safety, and How to Win at Work & Not Get Fired. No prior experience of any kind is needed to take the course.

“Since the pandemic, online education has become a primary means of allowing people to learn effectively and efficiently, said Azure Cygler, a fisheries and aquaculture specialist at the University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center and Rhode Island Sea Grant. “We put significant content, creativity, and thoughtfulness into the course to make it informative and engaging.”

The course is largely targeted at New England aquaculture but Cygler said content is applicable to other regions in the United States.


“We have assembled a tool kit that states can pick up to easily develop their own training programs,” said Robert Rheault, executive director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association and former oyster farmer who helped lead content development. “To enhance the learning further, I encourage other states to complement the program with on-the-farm internships.”

Other course partners include The Education Exchange and the Ocean State Aquaculture Association, with Shedlight Productions, a Rhode Island film company, producing the visual material. Funding for both trainings has been provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Sea Grant College Program.

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