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Guide to oyster husbandry

We recently answered inquiries on an aquaculture-focused Internet information service on oyster growout techniques particularly with regard to reducing labour and increasing yield within the biodiversity of the site. In the week after the posting, we were deluged by follow-up questions from around the world.

The experience made clear to me that there continues to be a lack of information flow on technical husbandry methods.

Clearly, certain areas of the industry are still at the stage where the main focus remains on the biology of the species or development in that area. While this study and development has to take place, we must become more pro-active in farm production to take the next steps in increasing sustainable yield within the growth of the industry sector.

For example, for the amount of effort spent and papers written on the development of the (Placopecten Magellanicus) over the last 10 years alone, the latest published statistics show that production is still quite low.

The 1996 Canadian Aquaculture Statistics presented by Cooper and Lybrand Consultants gave a farm gate value of CA $157,000.00 for all of Atlantic Canada. While this figure is not as accurate as it could be due to reporting methods, using other data could move the figure only to CA $440,000. Since I know almost all the growers, this is still a relatively small amount for Atlantic Canada as a whole considering the available sites for growout.

To get a better economic return, we must establish growout methods that product higher yields with controlled expenses, in another words, make shellfish farming a profitable business.

Back to the question of oyster growout, I have put together a chart that may be helpful in deciding husbandry methods that suit certain site specifics.

Of particular interest is the modified surface version I first saw in Damarisocotta, ME a few years ago. It can be submerged very quickly when expecting a storm or in winter ice conditions.

Also be sure to check the adjustable longline system from South Australia for tidal and inter tidal zones. In it, Mother Nature does most of the work while supplying a high amount of food and selectively controlling bio-fouling. This is particularly effective for the Atlantic coast and the Gulf area of the United States, as well as selected areas of the West Coast of Canada and the US.

Contact Don Bishop at:
Fukui North America

110-B Bonnechere St.W.
Eganville, Ontario K0J 1T0

**NEW**Fax: 613-432-9494
Email: kate@fukuina.com or don@bishopaquatic.com

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