World Aquaculture - September 2023

40 SEPTEMBER 2023 • WORLD AQUACULTURE • WWW.WAS.ORG farm; however, with the Find My Oyster app seeding can become a more precise process. The app records the path where shell has been spread and can estimate the density in each area of the lease. By using the app to identify areas of low shell density, farmers can focus their seeding efforts in those areas and avoid wasting seed in areas that already have sufficient shell coverage. This not only helps reduce the amount of seed needed, but also reduces labor and other expenses associated with multiple seeding trips (Figure 1). Similarly, the app can help with harvesting as well. When farmers harvest their oysters, they typically use a dredge to collect them from the bottom. Traditionally farmers harvest by dragging the dredge in a spiral pattern around the lease until they stop finding oysters. By recording a precise GPS path when dredging, the app can provide an estimate of where the bottom has been cleared and where there may still be oysters left to collect. In this way, farmers can maximize their yield while minimizing the time it takes. Additionally, the app allows farmers to record any observations they make during the harvesting process, such as the presence of predators or the condition of the oysters. This information can help improve future harvests and ensure the long-term sustainability of the farm. Find My Oyster is provided to farmers as a standalone product today, but it is also built to support and incorporate future technologies being developed as part of the S3AM project. By leveraging cutting-edge research and extensive networks, the app benefits from a wide range of expertise and resources. For example, the S3AM team is developing a new surveying technology that uses a combination of sonar and cameras to create accurate maps of oysters on the bottom. They are also developing algorithms to optimize the dredging path to reduce time and fuel consumption. By integrating these innovative technologies into the app, we can revolutionize the way farmers monitor and manage their oyster beds. The app is under development and will continue to change and improve over the next few years. Fraunhofer USA is actively seeking industry partners to test the app and provide valuable feedback. By participating in the testing, shellfish farmers can use the app at no cost and help shape its future development, ensuring it meets their unique needs and challenges. Interested shellfish farmers are encouraged to contact Fraunhofer USA and express their interest in participating. Technological collaborations help support the growth and sustainability of the on-bottom oyster farming industry, while further promoting environmental stewardship and innovation. The S3AM project and Find My Oyster app have the potential to bring much-needed innovation to the onbottom oyster farming industry. Bottom culture oyster farming may be considered old-fashioned and unglamorous, but this app can be a step toward making it more accessible and appealing. By removing some of the guesswork from operating their farms, oyster farmers increase their yields and improve their bottom line in a sustainable fashion (Figure 2). Through the GPS mapping and data recording capabilities of the app, on-bottom farmers can more accurately manage their time and resources. As the aquaculture industry continues to evolve and embrace technology, the app is well positioned to become an indispensable tool for farmers looking to maximize their efficiency and profitability. The S3AM project is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Sustainable Agricultural Systems program. This project builds a partnership among academia (UMD, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Virginia Tech, Louisiana State University, and University of Maryland Eastern Shore), non-governmental organizations (Fraunhofer USA and the Pacific Shellfish Institute), and aquaculture industry collaborators across three coastal regions. For more information, please visit our website at, or learn about the S3AM project at To learn more about Fraunhofer USA’s applied research across many competence areas, visit Notes Gudjon Magnusson, Research Scientist Fraunhofer USA Center Mid-Atlantic 5700 Rivertech Ct Suite 210, Riverdale, MD 20737 FIGURE 2. This screenshot shows how the app records the path of the boat while seeding an oyster bed. This trip covered a 1-acre bed, a small part of the 90-acre lease It is worth noting that all data is kept private to each farm and their staff. The app has been designed with security and privacy in mind, ensuring that sensitive information is protected at all times. Farmers can be confident in their use of the app and the safety of their data.