The HARVEST (Helping Aquaculture Reap Value and Enhance Student Training) Program offers Florida Sea Grant agents the opportunity to work with Florida aquaculture industry members to determine a need that can be met by a student intern, providing workforce training for the student and providing benefit to the industry.

As a HARVEST intern, Owen Silvera is working with UF/IFAS Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent Vincent Encomio and the awesome team at Treasure Coast Shellfish.

Q: Describe your internship responsibilities that helped bring value to aquaculture.

Silvera: Treasure Coast Shellfish is a relatively new company with a small team of six. Therefore, the most valuable thing I have brought to their team is my time. I have come at a critical point where they are upscaling their infrastructure to hopefully increase crop yield. However, we must do this upscale while continuously harvesting for the market. I have been instrumental in reducing the load on other workers, so that together we can work collaboratively on our investment which is to implement new gear and upscale.
harvest intern supporting aquaculture industry

 Q: What has been your favorite part of the experience so far?

Silvera: My favorite part of the internship thus far was receiving oyster seed from the hatchery. During my first week, we received 100,000 oyster seed which I helped transfer to the field. Since then, it has been amazing to monitor the growth of the oysters which really puts into perspective the turnaround time in the oyster aquaculture business.

It has been amazing to monitor the growth of the oysters, which really puts into perspective the turnaround time in the oyster aquaculture business.

Owen Silvera

harvest intern in the field support aquaculture harvestQ: What have you gained from the HARVEST program?

Silvera: I have tended to stick more to research positions in college, but this job has been quite the opposition and very fun. Research is very theoretical whereas this is hands-on work, this work possessing more of an intrinsic fun. While I hope to return to research, spending every day in the field as a HARVEST intern has allowed my mind to roam – thinking of a great many things from research ideas to ideas for my personal life. There is a beauty in labor and hard work, one which I have come to appreciate as a HARVEST intern.