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Learn About Oysters

LEARN ABOUT
OYSTERS

INTRODUCTION TO
OYSTERS

Shellfish farming in particular may be the only form of commercial-scale protein production that provides a net benefit to the environment where it is grown. Oysters are natural ocean cleaners and protect the ecosystem

2.5-3"
3.0-3.5"
3.5-5"
5"+

HOW OYSTERS ARE MADE

Planting

Growing

Harvesting

THE OYSTER GLOSSARY

bottom planted

As close as you can get to wild oyster growing. Spat is spread on the ocean floor and thrives in the same water and living conditions as wild oysters. Pros: produces tough and healthy shells. Cons: farmers lose oysters to nature. 

brine

The salty liquid or “liquor” of an oyster. Oysters take on the salinity of the water they grow in.  

cages

Metal cages that hold bags of oyster seed to protect them from predators and harsh ocean conditions. Cages are turned to evenly distribute access to tidal flow and food.  

grow-out bags

Housed inside cages, they provide more protection to the oysters.

rack-and-bag culture

Adapted from French aquaculture. Hundreds of oysters are placed in grow-out bags fastened to rebar racks to elevate the oysters above the ocean floor. This elevation allows superior tidal flow to encompass the oysters so they can easily feast on natural phytoplankton and nutrients in the water column. 

off-bottom culture

Methods of growing that keeps oysters above the ocean floor. Pros: oysters are more enclosed and protected, producing higher yield. Cons: More money and effort spent on growing gear.  

surface/floating culture

Floating oysters typically never dry out and get the benefit of high wave activity that naturally tumbles them.

spat

Baby oysters after they have set to a grow structure. It’s common for oyster farmers to buy spat that has been spawned and fertilized in a hatchery.

grow-out trays

Trays serve the same function as grow-out bags but can be stacked to maximize space.

tumbled

Promotes uniform and strong shells by chiseling oysters in a tumbler or naturally by tides.

upweller

A water flow system that constantly pumps nutrient-rich water up through and around the oyster seed to feed them phytoplankton and other nutrients. 

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