Oysters, Crabs, and Clams!


My name is Betty Mujica and I am working as a Sea Grant Summer Scholar in Newport, OR until August! I’m excited to share my adventures, both at work and play.  I took a road trip with one of the other scholars all the way from Louisiana to arrive in the fine city of Newport, which took about 6 days.  We stopped in Arlington and Amarillo, TX; Buena Vista, CO; Salt Lake City, UT; and Boise, ID (where we got to fly in a little private plane!).  Finally we arrived in Corvallis, then Newport, to get down to business.

My project this summer focuses on the transportation of live seafood—Dungeness crab and oysters—from the Oregon coast to a growing Chinese market.  Working under the mentorship of two advisers, I will conduct interviews with seafood producers along the coast of the Pacific NW to figure out what shipping and handling practices are most common and most effective.  Furthermore, I will be conducting an economic analysis of these transportation systems to analyze what methods are the most beneficial.  Hopefully by the end of the summer, we will have a comprehensive guide to harvesting and transporting seafood for any newcomers into the seafood market.

Tuesday of last week marked the first official workday for all the Sea Grant Scholars.  I met with one of my advisers who gave me some literature to read up on about seafood transportation and a background of the industry in the NW.  Coming from Louisiana, I’m somewhat familiar with seafood; however, the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are pretty different in terms of what seafood they yield, so reading up on background information is pretty important.  While most of my week was spent reading and researching, I was able to do a few interactive things to enhance my understanding of the industry.  I went down to Newport’s historic bay front area and checked out the local seafood shops and restaurants, enjoying a delicious order of fish and chips (made with local lingcod).  Another evening, I went to Local Ocean, a sustainable seafood restaurant.  I decided since I was studying how to harvest and ship Dungeness crab, I should probably try eating one.  I ordered a 2 pounder and getting the meat out was exhausting, but worth it.

In my free time, I started researching how to dig clams.  This is something completely foreign to me, but apparently quite common to those who grew up around these parts.  I went out one day with two other Scholars and dug around to find some clams—no one told us it wasn’t that simple.  The next day I did some in depth research, watching YouTube videos and learning all the regulations.  I also bought a shellfish permit, which allows me to harvest between 12-20 clams per day, depending on the type of clam.  Then my friends and I went out again, this time with tube-shaped sand removing contraptions and started to dig.  This time we had major success, finding several different types including a pretty big gaper clam.  Unfortunately, we didn’t look into how to store clams correctly and by the next day they were dead.  But no worries, I’ll continue to research and figure out how to clam efficiently and eventually I will be a clamming master!

This week should be filled with much more reading and research, but hopefully I’ll start visiting oyster farms and some commercial crabbers to get a first-hand look at how the industry works.  My one hope for this week is that we have less rain and more sun– what can I say, I’m a dreamer!

Welcome our 2011 Summer Scholars

A new class of Sea Grant Summer Scholars arrived on campus this week for orientation, and are now scattered to their host departments and agencies on the coast and at OSU. They are:

  • Shealyn Friedrich is a student at Willamette University in Salem, OR, who will be working on developing a website for the OSU Marine Council under the guidance of the Sea Grant program office at OSU.
  • AnnaRose Adams, an Oregon State University student, returning for her second year in the Summer Scholars program, assigned to work on a Coastal Marine Spatial Planning workshop with the Sea Grant program office.
  • Diego Martin-Perez, a student at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, LA, working at the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Visitor Center in Newport under the tutelage of public education specialist Bill Hanshumaker.
  • Betty Mujica, of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA, working with veterinarian Tim Miller-Morgan and Extension water quality specialist Rob Emanuel at the HMSC Visitor Center.
  • Lauren Dimock, a Willamette University student assigned to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s marine resource program at the HMSC.
  • Nicole Matthias, of Michigan Technological University, also assigned to the ODFW’s marine resource program.
  • Margaretmary Gilroy, of College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, assigned to the US Environmental Protection Agency lab at the HMSC
  • Sara Duncan, of Hawai’i Pacific University in Honolulu, assigned to EPA extension, where she will be working under the guidance of Ted DeWitt on a project to study the nutrient removal of flora in the Yaquina Resevoir
  • Joanne Choi, of Yale University, who will be working with the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in Coos Bay under the guidance of the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology.

We hope all nine of this year’s Summer Scholars will find time to blog about their experiences.