Robert Rheault is the Executive Director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association. He has a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography and is an adjunct faculty member in the University of Rhode Island's Department of Fisheries & Aquaculture. His research interests include documenting and valuating the environmental services provided by shellfish aquaculture, using nutrient credit trading as a means to limit coastal eutrophication and modeling the ecological carrying capacity for cultured shellfish. He operated an oyster farm in Rhode Island for 20 years and consults on issues related to hatchery design, shellfish sanitation, sustainability certification and marketing. He also spent five years on the RI Marine Fisheries Council and served six years on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC). He holds a patent for novel upweller design and is a recipient of the National Shellfisheries Association’s Wallace Award.