Kake Oyster Farm Apprenticeship Program
Shellfish farming has proven to be a viable, sustainable business opportunity for many communities in Southeast Alaska.
Rodger Painter, President of the Alaska Shellfish Growers Association, has been in the regional shellfish farming industry for years and has teamed up with the Organized Village of Kake to bring an oyster farm management apprenticeship program to the community of Kake.
The program, funded through a grant with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, creates business opportunities for local entrepreneurs looking to go into the shellfish farming industry.
Over the course of the three year program (which follows the three year cycle to produce mature oysters), a group of four apprentices participate in all aspects of managing an oyster farm business; caring for the oysters from young spat to mature harvest, operating equipment, marketing their product, and running a small business. Upon completion of the program, a small loan is available to participants as seed money to get their business up and running.
Oyster farming in Southeast Alaska has shown to be an ecologically and economically sustainable industry, as the growing oysters have no detrimental effects to their surrounding marine environment, and Alaska-grown shellfish continue to attract top dollar prices in high-end oyster bars and restaurants in the lower 48. Opportunities to increase economic returns on farmed oysters exist in value-adding processes such as smoking and preserving the oysters.
The oyster farming apprenticeship program promotes sustainable economic development for the community of Kake, providing long-term career opportunities and professional development for local community members. The development of a regional mariculture industry also promotes community natural resource stewardship, as good profitable oysters require clean and healthy waters to grow; an incentive for communities to responsibly manage their aquatic resources.
For more information on this program, please contact: Rodger Painter firstname.lastname@example.org (907) 957-0704 If you would like SAWC to promote your community based project or program, please contact: Angie Eldred SAWC Communications Coordinator email@example.com (907) 231-1710 Photo credits: Pearl of Alaska, Rocky Pass Oysters