Enhancing the Rapidly Emerging Oyster (Crassotrea virginica) Aquaculture Industry in New Hampshire

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Project Type: 
Research
Project Number: 
R/SFA-2
Inception Date: 
2016
Completion Date: 
2018

Participants:

Raymond Grizzle UNH - Jackson Estuarine Lab Principal Investigator
David Berlinsky UNH - Department of Biological Sciences Co-Principal Investigator
Abstract: 

The overall goal of the proposed research is to strengthen the burgeoning oyster farming industry in New Hampshire by improving culture techniques and disseminating the new information to growers and other stakeholders. Four objectives will be addressed: 1) Develop methods to increase oyster growth and survival at growout sites; 2) Determine the effects of location (site) on upweller performance for oyster seed production; 3) Conduct a comparative assessment of growth and survival for oyster seed from different broodstocks; and 4) Disseminate knowledge gained from the project to oyster farmers and other stakeholders. The general hypothesis that will be tested is that water flow in combination with food concentration (i.e., food flux rates) relative to oyster biomass (size and stocking density) largely controls oyster growth. Experiments at growout sites will determine how variations in gear deployment methods affect food fluxes and oyster growth, with the overall goal of reducing growout time to <3 years. Experiments at potential nursery sites will test the effects of site (location) on growth of oysters in upwellers, with the overall goal of identifying site characteristics that result in fastest oyster seed growth. The resulting new knowledge will be disseminated to oyster farmers and other stakeholders by a workshop to be held at the conclusion of the project, and a “growers manual” that will be distributed online.

Objectives: 

1) To develop methods to increase oyster growth and production at growout sites

2) To determine the effects of location (site) on upweller performance for oyster seed production

3) To conduct oyster broodstock growth trials on N.H. oyster farms

4) To disseminate knowledge gained from the project to oyster farmers and other stakeholders

Methodology: 

The general hypothesis that will be tested is that water flow in combination with food concentration (i.e., food flux rates) relative to oyster biomass (size and stocking density) largely controls oyster growth. Experiments at growout sites will determine how variations in gear deployment methods affect food fluxes and oyster growth, with the overall goal of reducing growout time to <3 years. Experiments at potential nursery sites will test the effects of site (location) on growth of oysters in upwellers, with the overall goal of identifying site characteristics that result in fastest oyster seed growth. The resulting new knowledge will be disseminated to oyster farmers and other stakeholders by a workshop to be held at the conclusion of the project, and a “growers manual” that will be distributed online.

Rationale: 

Oyster aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry in New Hampshire and there is a need for research aimed at developing methods that maximize oyster growth. This project will conduct field and laboratory experiments to determine effective seed production and final growout methods appropriate for the particular conditions of New Hampshire. Farmers will participate in the project and the newly acquired knowledge will be communicated to the industry.