Focused on Growing US Aquaculture and the Blue Economy
Oysters are not simply a commodity; for many Americans, they are a symbol of a way of life. Sadly over the past decades, natural oyster reefs and subsequent wild harvests have dramatically declined to a fraction of historic levels. This trend has necessitated an alternative source – aquaculture or farming of the seas. Aquaculture is a sustainable method of producing protein for a growing global population and relieves harvest pressure on the wild populations. In some cases, such as oysters, the extensive process provides ecological benefits that improve the quality of entire ecosystems.
The Gulf coast oyster aquaculture industry is burgeoning but experiencing bottlenecks. Lack of consistent, quality seed availability limits industry-wide development and puts farms at financial risk. In response, FOTC has developed an innovative, patent-pending model to self-sufficiently produce oysters available to help farms aspiring to generate mass volume but cannot due to an inconsistent supply chain. This production model is breaking the chain of globalizing an antiquated concept and bringing fire to the people.
Most importantly, FOTC is championing seafood integrity. Goods and services available through the Florida Oyster Trading Company will be authentic products of their environments, utilizing genetics from the estuaries where the harvests are grown – not outsourced from other bays or even states. Florida seed spawned with Florida broodstock to be raised in the same Florida estuaries, regulated by Florida’s Division of Aquaculture Best Management Practices protocols and standards. FOTC adheres to the highest standards.
The Florida Oyster Trading Company – Authentic, Craft Oysters
Authentic Florida Harvests
While consumers enjoy true, native products of the local waters grown by The Florida Oyster Trading Company, they are immersing themselves in the culture of Florida itself. But FOTC is also engaged in developing the local blue economy and while promoting the health of each location’s estuary through contributing ecosystem services in the form of water filtration, carbon removal, and nitrogen sequestration.
The innovative, patent-pending micro-hatchery production model vertically integrates operations to ensure authenticity, sustainability, and efficiency. The scalable and replicable model will be leveraged to not only grow the US oyster aquaculture industry by increasing production volumes internally, but by providing communal resources to other local farms through the international cluster model.
Josh Neese has been exploring, studying, and deepening his understanding of oysters and oyster seeds on America’s Gulf Coast since 2008. He served as the hatchery manager for the Alabama DNCR Division of Marine Resources in Gulf Shores for five years. He spent a year as a biologist with Louisiana Fish and Wildlife in Grand Isle. In both roles, he worked in an aquaculture facility rearing oysters and finfish to supplement and restore wild-stock populations. He also spent two years directing a private oyster hatchery and farm business as the VP of Operations. In April 2020, he founded The Florida Oyster Trading Company to generate a larger industry-wide impact and recognize that the most prevalent need of oyster farmers is access to local seed.
Josh holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Huntingdon College, a B.S. in Marine Biology, and an M.S. in Fisheries and Aquaculture from the University of West Florida. While establishing FOTC, he served as an oyster aquaculture consultant on the global level. He has developed a network of thought leaders to leverage bleeding-edge technology and innovative practices to grow the industry at the local level. He believes in collaboration and that a rising tide will lift all boats.
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