|Sprinkling seed clams during fall plantout|
In our shellfish aquaculture farm we restock our growing area each Spring with seed clams from a hatchery. As growers, we are concerned with producing a natural, wholesome food with a minimum impact on natural resources and the environment. To avoid impacting the salt marsh ecosystem where we grow our shellfish we harvest only the shellfish that we stock in our area. Since we replace the shellfish that we remove with a new crop each year we maintain a stable, healthy population of shellfish. Oyster seed are either hatchery reared or seed are collected in the wild. Using cement dipped cones or tiles growers can induce wild planktonic oyster larvae to settle and grow (spat collection). The tiny larvae attach themselves to these substrates and then grow into little oyster set or spat. In the absence of proper substrates, most of these planktonic larvae would perish. By providing artificial substrates, growers can increase oyster recruitment into the system. Many oyster restoration projects are currently underway that use these enhanced oyster recruitment techniques to reestablish healthy populations of wild oysters. Using hatchery seed and spat collection techniques in aquaculture means that a healthy sustainable population of shellfish can be cultivated without impacting the wild fishery. Furthermore, oyster spat collection by providing substrate which is otherwise limited enhances oyster recruitment.