Millions of oysters get their start in Ketchikan each year, right at the OceansAlaska Mariculture Research and Training Facility, a modern new aquaculture endeavor located on George Inlet near Ketchikan. OceansAlaska is a non-profit venture dedicated to the promotion of shellfishing as an economic driver for Southeast Alaska.

Growing oysters and large clams (called geoducks) is tricky. You need the right water temperature, non-acidic conditions, and time. It takes about 3 years for an oyster to morph from larvae to dinner-ready delicacy. It turns out that the waters around Ketchikan are perfect, especially for the in-between growing stage, when oysters are just “seed” or “spat.” OceansAlaska has been successfully raising spat to sell to oyster farms for a few seasons. Now it’s planning an expanded facility to allow production of 50 million oyster seed and 3 million geoduck seed annually, more than enough to supply all the farms in Alaska and beyond.

At the heart of OceansAlaska is a Board of Directors made up of a cross-section of Ketchikan’s active business people who are passionate about the science and economics of aquaculture. And on staff are dedicated scientists who can tell you all about oyster farming and algae cultivation (good for a growing oyster!)

You won’t find a shellfishing research facility on a lot of tourist lists as a top destination, but if you want to understand this industry in-depth or see what cutting edge research is happening right in Ketchikan, Alaska, check out the OceansAlaska website or Facebook page. A visit to the site might find you chatting it up with a local biologist, checking out a live tank, or even sampling one of the Sheets’ family iconic oysters yourself. On the half-shell, of course!

Getting There

2417 Tongass Ave #109
Ketchikan, AK 99901
Driving Directions


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