Friday, March 14, 2008

She Sells Shellfish

Had to do some short time in southeastern VA yesterday and stopped by one of our hunting spots. Can you tell why scaup love this place? Mmmmmmm......tasty razor clams!

Also, last fall, we (brothers and I) assembled and delivered a couple of oyster floats to the folks that own that property. The oyster larvae have been living in the float all winter, and still measure less than 1cm long. We hope to harvest about half of the oysters, and plant the other half on the existing oyster bar right down the cove. Oysters are not doing well in the Chesapeake Bay - living oyster beds (like a living reef) are at about 1% of their historic extent. Not good! If you have a boat dock (and live on suitable salt water, and can get a permit, etc etc) and are interested in helping the oysters out (you have to set them all free when they grow up), you can get an oyster float for free (or almost free) through local watershed groups, and sometimes even get a tax write-off for installing oyster floats! If you're like us, and you'd like to taste at least a few of the little guys after they're all growns up, you can purchase an oyster float from folks like Atlantic Aquaculture in RI....... . The floats (trade name: "Taylor Floats" - named after Taylor's Hardware in Virginia Beach!) sell for anywhere from $60 to $120 a piece. We made our own from supplies from a Marine Supply wholesaler (bought at cost) and the Home Despot, because we were SURE we could make them for less than $50 each. We were wrong. The cost of 6" PVC drove the price through the roof. Final price: about $52 each and a lot of PVC primer inhaled.

Technical note: you do NOT want a full size float (6' x 2') unless you have an electric winch on your dock. Half-size (3' x 2') floats are the way to go!

Got enough information to get started? Great! Check out this link of folks doing the REAL thing with oysters ...very cool....but remember, the key to oyster survival is improved water quality...not just more oysters!


MUD said...

Yes, but isn't raising more oysters a start? Here in the Heartland there just isn't any saltwater to raise them in. I think there isn't much better than a dozen oysters and a half pound of shrimp.

Anonymous said...

we are with you. I am posting a link on my site. Let's keep in touch!


Anonymous said...

Link to me please:

Oysterman of the Chesapeake Bay

Kirk Mantay said...

Thanks Fellas! Oysters have the ability to clean up our entire nasty bay (the nation's largest estuary, by the way). Problem is, we won't leave them alone long enough to do it. Growing them in bags or cages definitely serves to off-set the harvest by some small margin.

Anonymous said...

Very cool. My parents have been thinking about investing in a few floats--I'll have to pass this along.

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