The recent legalization of oyster aquaculture in Texas brings opportunities to support of this emerging industry. To meet these new needs, Texas Sea Grant has hired Mario Marquez as the program’s new aquaculture specialist. He joins the extensive Texas Sea Grant extension team, which provides practical and science-based support to the Texas coast.
Marquez will be based in Palacios, TX, and he will aid the expansion and development of the oyster aquaculture industry. In partnership with the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, he will coordinate with public and private stakeholders to facilitate economical and sustainable oyster aquaculture. This assistance to the oyster aquaculture industry will include planning and program evaluation; assisting the integration of oyster hatcheries, seed production and oyster farm operations; and educating and guiding stakeholders.
One of Marquez’s first major projects will be aiding the creation of a website to inform aspiring oyster farmers on how to navigate the permitting process and successfully start their new business.
“I’m so excited to help in developing this new oyster aquaculture industry along the Texas coast and growing some of the best oysters any Texan would be proud of,” Marquez said.
Marquez comes to Texas Sea Grant with extensive experience in aquaculture and oyster fisheries. He is currently obtaining his PhD in environmental sciences, focusing on the ecosystem benefits of oyster aquaculture in Oyster Bay, FL. He was also a founder and CEO of The Oyster Company, LLC., an oyster farm in Northern Florida.
Marquez is a fellow with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Environmental Cooperative Science Center. He also serves as an advisory board member for Sea Turtle Inc. and Fishing’s Future.
Prior to working on his PhD, Marquez received a Master’s of Science and a Bachelor’s of Science in biology, both from the University of Texas at Brownsville.
“We are thrilled to have Mario joining Texas Sea Grant,” said Cindy Lyle, Senior Associate Director and Extension Program Leader at Texas Sea Grant. “Oyster farmers will need assistance navigating the permitting process as well as launching and growing their businesses, and Mario’s expertise will be immensely helpful in this process and beyond.”