Overcoming restraints to the dev2 by 285p3Vw

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									                                      Georgia

Overcoming Constraints to the Development of a Sustainable Eastern
Oyster, Crassostrea virginica, Aquaculture Industry in Georgia

Principal Investigator: Alan Power

                                     ABSTRACT

Our goal is to develop, test and demonstrate the biological and technical
procedures for culturing the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica in the coastal
waters of Georgia. This work is proposed to determine the feasibility of
alternative molluscan shellfish species production and to educate shellfish
producers as to the resource requirements and management practices. It is
believed that oyster aquaculture and associated marketing efforts have
tremendous potential in Georgia and in the southeastern United States in
general. Currently, hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria) culture is Georgia’s only
growing fishery. Oyster culture will provide for diversification and improve farm
income.

The cupped oysters comprising the Crassostrea and Saccostrea genera are the
most widely cultivated and important commercial species in the world. Our hypothesis
is that oysters acquired through natural spat settlement can be reared to a
harvestable size by using off-bottom culture methods employed by fishermen
growing related intertidal oysters in other countries. Based upon the results of
growth and survival for oysters of a master thesis on oyster habitat restoration,
oysters can be grown off bottom to a commercial size, 76 mm (3 inches) in 9 to
10 months and can be available for the winter oyster roast season in Georgia. By
harvesting oysters within one year, the oyster industry can avoid the problems
currently plaguing the industry of death of two year old oysters by fouling of
single oysters by heavy oyster spat recruitment in the second summer. This
project will determine the optimal oyster culture system for coastal Georgia
conditions and will use industry representatives to evaluate its commercial
viability by conducting pilot scale trials on working shellfish leases.

								
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