R.I. Shellfish Management Plan Builds Community to Protect Resource

For many in Rhode Island’s shellfish industry, their occupation is more than just a job.

“I used to see these guys coming in and it was just awe-inspiring to see all these quahoggers and the old time guys that I still look up to,” said commercial shellfisherman David Ghigliotti in this 7-minute video about Rhode Island shellfish harvesting, and the plan that brought the industry and regulators together, in some cases for the first time, to improve shellfish management in the state. “The freedom of this job is just incredible. You can’t describe it very easily, but once it’s in you, it’s there for life. This is where I belong. This is where I’m staying.”

David Ghigliotti

Shellfisherman David Ghigliotti describes how important shellfishing is to him in this short video.

Two years in the making, Rhode Island’s first comprehensive shellfish management plan was celebrated recently at the University of Rhode Island by the state agencies, project managers, researchers, stakeholders, and funders who made it happen.

“We set out to write a plan, but we actually got a lot done along the way,” said Janet Coit, Director of Rhode Island DEM.

Led by project manager Azure Cygler, fisheries and aquaculture extension specialist for Rhode Island Sea Grant and the University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center, the plan, which is the purview of the state’s Department of Environmental Management and Coastal Resources Management Council, along with the Department of Health, guides the management of shellfish harvest, culture, restoration, and safe handling.

This video features members of the industry, regulators, and other stakeholders talking about the plan, and the importance of shellfish economically and culturally to Rhode Island and its residents.

The video was created by Ayla Fox, Shed Light Productions. Produced by the Coastal Institute at URI.