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Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative

Nutrient bioextraction combines growing and harvesting shellfish and seaweed for the purpose of removing nitrogen and other nutrients from coastal waters. Nutrient bioextraction can reduce nutrients as the shellfish and seaweed use nitrogen and phosphorus to grow and develop, in the same way land plants do. In addition to removing excess nutrients, shellfish and seaweed provide other benefits such as creating habitats for fish and other marine life, making nutrient bioextraction a valuable strategy in helping to improve water quality.

In 2018, Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan (LINAP) launched the Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative in partnership with New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission and Long Island Regional Planning Council, with funding provided by the Long Island Sound Study(leaves DEC website).

The Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative aims to improve water quality in New York and Connecticut marine waters by removing excess nitrogen through the cultivation and harvest of seaweed and shellfish. The initiative provides information to decision makers to help them develop guidelines needed to facilitate public and private seaweed and shellfish farming and harvest operations in their coastal waters.

Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative Fact Sheet

The fact sheet (PDF) summarizes the Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative and includes information about nutrient bioextraction, sources of nutrients and their impacts on water quality, and ongoing LINAP efforts through the Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative.


The Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative established and leads two committees that advance the bioextraction industry. The Bioextraction Advisory Committee, established in 2018, provides guidance and recommendations on projects of the Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative to produce sound science that informs management decisions. The New York State Marine Aquaculture Advisory Committee, established in 2019, provides advice and recommendations on regulatory, economic, and other issues related to shellfish and seaweed aquaculture and nutrient bioextraction.

Bioextraction Advisory Committee

The Bioextraction Advisory Committee comprises a small network of interdisciplinary researchers and experts in nutrient bioextraction, seafood safety, nutrient resource management, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, the aquaculture industry, and shellfish and seaweed aquaculture employees in federal, state, and local government agencies. The workgroup is not a decision-making body but will promote information exchange and idea sharing.

The inaugural meeting of the Bioextraction Advisory Committee was held in November 2018, during which members were introduced to LINAP's Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative and projects underway.

New York State Aquaculture Workgroup

The NYS Aquaculture Workgroup comprises local, state government agencies; the shellfish aquaculture industry; non-profit education agencies; and research organizations. The workgroup is not a decision-making group, but works to review draft or conceptual documents, talk with key stakeholders, discuss ideas with members of their organizations, and gather ideas. Workgroup input will advance the long-term viability of New York's marine aquaculture industry.

The workgroup has held several in-personal and virtual meetings since its inception in November 2019. At these meeting, members identified regulatory and economic challenges associated with New York's shellfish and seaweed industry, discussed workgroup membership, and reviewed a draft action plan that identifies specific goals and tasks to address challenges identified by the workgroup.

Nutrient Bioextraction Resources

  • Selected Summaries of Nutrient Bioextraction Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles (PDF). This resource is a comprehensive annotated bibliography of peer-reviewed journal articles that provide more information about bioextraction as a nutrient management strategy, shellfish and seaweed species used for nutrient bioextraction, and previous bioextraction research conducted along the East Coast.
  • A Guide to Marine Shellfish Aquaculture Permitting in New York (PDF). This guide, released through NEIWPCC, outlines permitting steps and regulatory expectations for prospective, new, and existing participants in New York's marine shellfish aquaculture industry. It includes information regarding federal, state, and local roles in the permitting process, and copies of permit application forms, as well as sections on best management practices, shellfish sanitation, local leasing programs, and other related topics.

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