Raising Happy Shellfish
Spat is the industry term for baby oysters. Oysters naturally want to grow in a group (cultch). Since restaurants prefer individuals (cultchless) oysters, RCTB does grow cultchless oysters for demonstration purposes. However, when growing spat for living shoreline projects, another technique called remote set works better. With remote set we create a colony either on a shell or on oyster castles. The remote set technique, introduces eyed larvae (a particular time in their development, just prior to set) to a mixing tank containing the shell (in bags) or oyster castles. Within two weeks, the larvae will set on the material provided. A piece of shell will have a colony of from 75 to 100 spat. An oyster castle might contain 500 to 1,000. The advantage is that the large shells or interlocking oyster castles provide a habitat that reduces predation. RCTB has been experimenting with the remote set technique. The goal is to improve the percentage that do set on the shell or oyster castles.
Those facts generate more question that we cover during RCTB educational sessions:
- How do they feed so we can understand why oyster filter more water that do clams.
- What is the life cycle? How they reproduce?
- How are grown commercially
What are the different roles that play in the environment?