$10 million from NYS to fund new regional shellfish hatchery in East Islip


The Town of Islip’s aging shellfish cultivation facility at the end of Bayview Avenue in East Islip is about to get a major overhaul.

In fact, it’s about to be gone, replaced by a sparkling new, $10 million facility.

But not for just Islip shellfish farmers.

Governor Kathy Hochul, Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine and town supervisors from across Long Island jointly announced Thursday that the new facility will serve the entire state.

That means the bays, Long Island Sound and all their tributaries.

Basically, anywhere you might find oysters or clams.

Not only that, as part of what Albany has dubbed New York’s Blue Food Transformation, the 2025 budget also includes $5 million in capital funding for farmers to invest in marine dock space, processing equipment and other vital infrastructure for the growth of their businesses, officials announced.

This grant program will be administered by the Peconic Land Trust.

“The governor’s support of the Town of Islip’s Regional Shellfish Hatchery is a tremendous boost to the local baymen and shellfish economy,” said Riverhead Supervisor Tim Hubbard. “Long Island has been known as a top shellfish producer for decades

“I know I might be biased, but I believe Long Island oysters might be some of the best oysters in the world.”

Funding is provided from existing state capital funding sources, state officials said.

Once built, the new facility will be the spot for New York shellfish farmers to purchase juvenile shellfish, known in aquaculture terms as seed, to stock their underwater farms.

The hatchery will produce approximately 100 to 200 million single set juvenile oysters and clams annually — and approximately 500 million oyster larvae and spat on shell oysters in support of local shellfish restoration efforts, officials said.

That’s a significant increase from its current production of 20 to 40 million clams and oysters.

This will help to meet the needs of the growing aquaculture industry, officials said, as 39 percent of New York’s oyster seed was purchased by oyster farmers from hatcheries in New England states in 2023.

Click here to book a tour of the existing facility.

In Islip alone, oysters cultivated from bay bottoms has risen from 0 percent to 23 percent of the cultured oysters harvested in New York State over the last 15 years, officials said.

The budget also includes $75,000 for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, which is based in Riverhead, to develop New York’s first-ever seafood trail on Long Island, with the idea of emphasizing the culinary arts behind preparing shellfish and, ultimately, trying to increase consumer demand.

“We are preserving Long Island’s rich maritime history while it faces various threats, from historic overfishing to climate change,” Hochul said. “These key investments will support the shellfish industry on Long Island, an important aspect to the region’s economy and water quality.” 

Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said the demand for seed from the existing facility currently far outpaces supply.

She also touted the initiative’s positive impact on the environment, as oysters and clams help mitigate and reduce harmful algal blooms that have devastated the bays especially over the decades.

A single oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day under optimal environmental conditions, officials aid.

“This new facility will enable the Town of Islip to accommodate the region’s growth,” she said. “This will benefit not only marine life but also industries such as tourism and recreation that rely on healthy ecosystems.”

No construction timeline was provided by officials.

Top: Governor Kathy Hochul with Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter (center) along with state and local government officials at the existing Town of Islip Shellfish Cultivation Facility in East Islip.

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