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RI Coastal Resources Management Council preserve, protect, develop, and restore coastal resources for all Rhode Islanders

Report: Aquaculture is back in a big way in 2022

June 1, 2023, WAKEFIELD — The aquaculture industry in Rhode Island rebounded in 2022 after two years heavily impacted by the pandemic, according to the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council’s annual status report, “Aquaculture in Rhode Island.”

Chart of farm gate values

The farm gate value (the value for the product paid to the farmer) of the state’s aquaculture products rallied in 2022 to $7.48 million, from a marked decrease experienced as a likely result from more than two years of the pandemic; in 2018 it was $5.8 million, $5.74 million in 2019 (this dip was likely due to 2018/2019 winter conditions), and then was $4.12 million in 2020 and 2021.

The F/V Matrix hauls oyster bottom cages

The F/V Matrix hauls oyster bottom cages.
Photograph: Wickford Oyster Co.

While the number of farms stayed at 84 from the previous year, acres farmed grew slightly by 5.81 acres to a total of 373.99 acres farmed. Oysters remain the aquaculture product of choice in the state, with nearly 11 million sold for consumption, a large increase from the 6 million sold in 2020.

Oyster seed sales from Rhode Island aquaculturists took a huge leap to from $167,000 in 2021 to $796,403 in 2022. Previously, sales had been on a steady, upward trend – in 2017 they were valued at $260,175; in 2018 they were $243,250; and in 2019 they were valued at $326,796 – but sales plummeted beginning in 2020 and were valued at $167,000 for both that year and 2021. The number of aquaculture farm workers increased from 222 to 246. The combined value of aquaculture products for consumption and seed sales continued its upward trend from 2021’s $7.54 million to $8.28 million in 2022. Sales have definitively recovered from 2020, when they totaled $4.29 million.

The full report is available at the CRMC’s web site,


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