FEBRUARY - ISLAND CREEK OYSTERS

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  • back to school

  • shellfish harvest classification

  • CCB 45 & 47- ico’s shellfish farming areas

  • growing a hatchery, pt. 2


back to school

I don’t have the financial bandwidth nor, at 66, the time on our beautiful planet to even consider getting into the oyster farm business as a sole-proprietor/operator. However, going back to school (so to speak) would allow me to experience vicariously what it would take, and is something that I can do. Two colleagues of mine at Island Creek, and RWU graduates, sensed my interest in wanting to learn more and got me hooked up with a Roger Williams University 15 week applied shellfish farming course, which happens every Tuesday night for 3 hours on campus, or via a live webinar - which I opted for.

Fifteen weeks + fifteen topics = lots to learn, from shellfish biology to site selection and business management, plus everything in between. I think I’m going to like it.

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SHELLFISH HARVEST CLASSIFICATION

… good to know!

If you consume shellfish, you’ll want to learn about the steps the Division Of Marine Fisheries takes to ensure Massachusetts shellfish growing areas are sanitary.

Overview
Here at DMF, one of our top goals is public health protection. That is why we conduct sanitary surveys of shellfish growing areas. These surveys determine whether an area’s shellfish are cleared for human consumption. The principal components of a sanitary survey include an evaluation of pollution sources that may affect an area ... (plus) an evaluation of physical characteristics of the coastal area and weather conditions that may affect distribution of pollutants

— @massmarinefisheries.net
SHELLFISH HARVEST CLASSIFICATION

Approved
A classification used to identify a growing area where harvest for direct marketing is allowed.

Conditionally Approved
A classification used to identify a growing area which meets the criteria, except under certain conditions described in a management plan (e.g. rainfall closures).
Restricted: A classification used to identify a growing area where harvesting shall be required by a special license and the shellstock, following harvest, is subjected to a suitable and effective through relaying or depuration (to make free of impurities).

Conditionally Restricted
A classification used to identify a growing area meets the criteria for the restricted classification except under certain conditions described in a management plan.

Prohibited
A classification used to identify a growing area where the harvest of shellstock for any purpose, except depletion or gathering of seed for aquaculture, is not permitted.
— Roger Williams University, Bristol RI

CCB (CapE Cod Bay) 45 & 47 - ico’s shellfish farming Areas

Okay, I saw a few farmer and hatchery crew members wearing navy blue hoodies and/or baseball caps with “CCB-45” in white block lettering stamped on the back. I didn’t give it much thought, but figured it had to do with the Coast Guard. But when I got around to asking Hannah what CCB 45 stood for, she told me “ … It’s Island Creek’s shellfish classification area”. I did a little digging on CCB-45 and came up with the below.

@massmarinefisheries.net

@massmarinefisheries.net

CCB 47 - ICO’s Back River Nursery Area

Charts on this left-side are screen-shots of ICO’s shellfish classification areas

CCB-45, Back River nursery  @massmarinefisheries.net

CCB-45, Back River nursery @massmarinefisheries.net

Charts on this right-side are nautical charts of the same areas

The blue arrow points to the Back River nursery where seed oysters until their big enough for planting on the bay  @noaa.gov

The blue arrow points to the Back River nursery where seed oysters until their big enough for planting on the bay @noaa.gov

CCB 45 - ICO’s Hunts and Saquish Farming Area

CCB-47, Duxbury Bay @massmarinefisheries.net

CCB-47, Duxbury Bay @massmarinefisheries.net

The green arrow points to the Hunts farm; The red arrow points to the Saquish farm  @noaa.gov

The green arrow points to the Hunts farm; The red arrow points to the Saquish farm @noaa.gov


growing a hatchery, pt. 2

MAKING OYSTERS

During January, I spent a fair amount of time helping the hatchery team with clean-up chores in preparation for oyster spawning. During that time, and into February, I learned a lot about how the hatchery works - which is where everything begins. Thank goodness for me that Hannah and her team (not to mention Ursula and her team on the farm!) have the knowledge and patience to pass along a bunch of really great stuff about the interesting world of oysters! Google and RogerWilliams Univeersity, too …

Life cycle of oysters:

#google images

#google images

FROM LARVAE TO SEED

Larvae (fertilized eggs)
Oysters spend about 14 days as larvae. Larvae are microscopic and free-swimming. Two days after fertilization, oyster larvae already have shells.

Larvae at the AIC are raised in filtered, sterilized seawater so microalgae must be added daily as food.

Juvenile oysters (“spat”)
After about two weeks, larvae are ready to metamorphose, or change, into “spat”, or juvenile oysters.

Newly-metamorphosed oysters are barely visible to the naked eye and are raised in filtered seawater in the Hatchery “downwellers,” where they are fed cultured algae and grown to a more manageable size (about the size of quinoa). After about two weeks, they are moved to “upwellers” in raw seawater and feed on whatever food is naturally available.

Seed oysters
Juvenile oysters are regularly sorted by size, counted, and re-distributed in the upweller nursery to optimize growth and survival. Depending on their intended use, they spend several weeks to several months in the nursery system before being moved as “seed oysters” out to the bay.
— Roger Williams University

Before and after images:

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Tank room, which houses plenty of filtered seawater (left) and larvae-rearing tanks (right), among other things.

Oyster food - algae

The specifications of algae grown in the hatchery are that of the specific varieties of algae within Duxbury Bay that Island Creek Oysters eat.

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Flask room - the first step in algae production.

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Carboy Room - the second step in algae production.

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K-tube room - the final step in algae production.

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Preparing the oysters to spawn - water temperature is critical.

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Waiting for the big boom!

Top image: male oyster has released his sperm. Bottom image: female oyster has released her eggs. The gametes will be combined in specific proportions, then later stocked into the larvae-rearing tanks.

Top image: male oyster has released his sperm. Bottom image: female oyster has released her eggs. The gametes will be combined in specific proportions, then later stocked into the larvae-rearing tanks.

so long, february!

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