Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oysters in Dorchester's Malibu Bay Survive Winter in Style

While we lost one cage of oysters at Dorchester Yacht Club due to either a bad knot or frayed rope, we were heartily pleased with the survival we saw in the remaining crate. David Fields volunteered to help out and working together we soon had the data we were after. We had 299 living oysters for a 96.76% survival rate.

Below is David taking a salinity reading. It was 27 ppt. Normal seawater is around 32 ppt. 

The oysters seemed healthy and there was two crabs and a silver fish in the crates with them.  You can see one of the crabs in the upper right hand corner of the milk crate.

Below is a photo of David with the Vice Commodore Brian Taylor who is holding two of our bivalve friends.

We cannot say enough good things about Dorchester Yacht Club. The people are friendly and nice. They are very protective of the oysters and truly care about Malibu Bay. While driving through nearby Savin Hill, moving and buying a small boat to keep at the club was a tempting train of thought.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Data is in Winter Oyster Survival in the Charles Cages is Exceptional

The official statistics are in from our Chief Scientist and the data looks good. The divers pulled up four cages on May 2.  All had survival above 94%.

MA - 94.27%

Near Side Cage #5 - 97.33%

Near Side Cage #7 - 98.69%

Far Side Cage #1 - 95.30%

The oysters outside of the cages faired less well as there was predation. We even caught one Green Crab in the act!

This weekend we will do a survey of Fort Point Channel.

Mass Oyster Windbreakers Available!

For all you fashion mavens who have been wondering what to wear on those chilly mornings or breezy days at the shore or as you are out and about, Mass Oyster has the answer in its MOP logoed windbreakers!

These are the colors and they are available in adult sizes SMLXL

The logo is as below but the jacket is really maroon as above.

The price of fashion in this case is reasonable as they are available for a modest $25. Email and we will get one out to you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Informative Talk on Steamed Clam Restoration in Boston Harbor

On Monday, I attended a presentation on "The Return of the Clam" at the Orient Heights Yacht Club that was sponsored by the Friends of the Belle Isle Marsh. Dr. Joe Buttner of Salem State College and the Northeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center gave an excellent presentation talking about aquaculture and a shellfish farming project to restore Softshell Clams in Boston Harbor and coastal Massachusetts. He showed how they stimulate clams to spawn and produce spat in their lab to later place them in tidal flats in Boston Harbor.
There were many parallels to the Massachusetts Oyster Project’s efforts to restoring oysters. They are now placing the clams below nets to prevent predation from Green Crabs. (This species is not native to this area, but arrived from Europe some ~50 years ago.) Like MOP, they have proven survival and growth. They also are working to generate data on reproduction to see if the placed clams are generating offspring.
The steamed clams that are harvested from Boston Harbor are all sent to Newburyport for treatment so that they can be sold for consumption. Only steamers may be harvested.
There was an older gentleman there who participated in an oral history project regarding Chelsea Creek conducted by the Chelsea Creek Action Group. He indicated that as part of that project he heard a man named Sal or Vinnie recount how his grandfather made his living harvesting oysters from Chelsea Creek. MOP unsuccessfully submitted a grant to the Boston Foundation to obtain funding for a pilot oyster program there. He has invited to take a few people out on a tour of the creek through the Belle Isle Marsh, so we will set up a date to do so.

A young gentleman from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) was also there and spoke very knowledgeably about the program. Chris is active in this program and may be reaching out to MOP when they need volunteers on the clam project. I also invited him to come along when we measure some of the oysters in cages.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Oyster Update

A great group of volunteers assembled sunday to check on the oysters for the first time in 2010.

We brought up 4 of the cages with known numbers of oysters placed last fall. We also pulled up random cages to make many measurements of growth.
The survival in the cages was very good. Only about 5% of the oysters died over the winter which is very favorable.

Underwater, the dive team looked for signs of silting, which was minimal. Many of the loose oysters were being killed by predators however. Below is a picture of a crab eating an oyster.

One interesting thing we saw was that some of the oysters had developed an imprint of the cage mesh on their shells.

Several of the cages have temperature data loggers in them that we removed and downloaded. We will share all of our data soon! Special thanks to Rich for running the last set of oysters back over to the north when the rest of us had called it a day!
In June we will do more monitoring work so please check back for more information soon as we settle on a date for that event! We hope to pull up more cages and will need plenty of volunteers to help measure and count oysters.