Thursday, October 31, 2013

Learn About Oysters at new Exhibit at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich CT


Bruce Museum  Greenwich ,CT
The Bruce Museum  Greenwich, Connecticut

The Long Island Sound’s native Eastern oyster will be the star of a new exhibit opening November 2 at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT.

Visitors can examine the biology and ecology of this common bivalve and compare the Eastern oyster to other species worldwide in the exhibit.

It will feature hands-on interactive displays, videos, photographs and historical objects that will appeal to all ages. You can explore the science and natural history of oysters and discover the rich history of oyster-fishing in the Sound.

As part of the exhibit, the public is invited to experience hands-on oyster fishing with members of the Town of Greenwich Shellfish Commission on Sunday, Nov. 3 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Seaside Center in Greenwich Point Park, Old Greenwich.

A special staff tour of the exhibition will be held for school teachers on Nov. 12 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Curriculum connections to humanities and science will be highlighted. Reservations can be made by calling 203-413-6741.

The museum will also present a lecture on the Eastern oyster on Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for museum members and $7 for non-members. You can make reservations by calling 203-413-6757.

On Dec. 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. Norm Bloom & Son, Best Oysters in Norwalk, will be offering free oyster tasting with museum admission. The oyster exhibit will run through March 23.
The exhibition will explore the science and history of the Eastern oyster in the Sound, examining how its nutritional and commercial values have made the Eastern oyster a popular commodity for residents along the Sound for eons. Native Americans harvested oysters from mile-long natural beds and collected individual oysters that were up to a foot long. By the early 1800s, the natural beds had become depleted and oysters were cultivated on artificial beds.

The oyster industry was a powerful force in the Connecticut coastal economy by the end of the 19th century. However, overfishing, pollution, natural disasters, and disease brought about a decline and the industry was threatened through the early to mid-20th century. In recent years, the oyster trade has experienced resurgence as a result of improved aquaculture techniques and oysters’ popularity among food connoisseurs.

For more information on the exhibit, visit the Bruce Museum online or call 203-413-6740.
The Bruce Museum is located at 1 Museum Drive in Greenwich off Exit 3 of Interstate 95.  The museum is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for students up to 22 years, $6 for seniors and free for members and children under age 5. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Oyster Restoration Video South Carolina

This article provides a nice overview of oyster restoration in South Carolina and how they are using oysters to offset erosion and sea level rise.

Restoring Oyster Reefs


No one knows who that brave soul was who first shucked an oyster, but we do know that by the late 1800s millions of pounds of salty, slimy oyster meat were being harvested from places like North Carolina’s Outer Banks and shipped across the country. The secret was out: raw, steamed, grilled, or fried, oysters were on the menu from coast to coast.

oyster restoration  history North Carolina
Scientists estimate the current North Carolina wild oyster population is 50% of what it was 100 years ago. Archive photo provided by NC State University.
As the demand for oysters increased, fishermen began using more sophisticated tools — like mechanical dredge boats — to boost their catch. And boy, were they successful! Marine scientists generally place the current oyster population at around 50 percent of what it was a century ago. And some estimates claim areas like North Carolina’s Pamlico Sound are at 10 percent of the levels that existed in the early 20th century.

One of the reasons that populations have been so decimated and haven’t been able to come back has to do with the habitat needs of the oyster. Baby oysters, or spat, literally grow on the backs of their ancestors. Spat swim in the water column until they can latch on to a suitable surface. More often than not, that surface is an established oyster reef made up of generations of older oysters. As wild oyster harvesting increased, the reefs diminished and baby oysters had no place to anchor. The oyster population plummeted.

But this isn’t just another “species of special concern” story.

It turns out that oysters are indispensable to the marine ecosystem. Aside from their role as a viable fishery, oyster reefs provide three main ecosystem services. They stabilize shorelines by breaking up wave energy, they provide habitat for hundreds of marine organisms such as crabs and barnacles and, perhaps most importantly, they help filter the water.

Adult oysters can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. In this one hour timelapse video, you can see a decrease in the levels of turbidity, or murk, in the water.

Filter-feeding oysters transfer nutrients (including nitrogen) from the water to the bottom. That’s a good thing, not only for the marine ecosystem but also for humans. Studies estimate that oyster-reef sediments remove 25 percent more nitrogen than areas without oysters. An excess of nitrogen in the water promotes algal blooms that shade underwater vegetation and can lower the dissolved oxygen levels. Loss of underwater vegetation and low oxygen are increasingly common in coastal ecosystems. They can result in undesirable impacts ranging from reduced water clarity to fewer fish.

Scientists with UNC Chapel Hill use laser scanners to determine the best location for future reefs.  Photo by David Huppert

Scientists with UNC Chapel Hill use laser scanners to determine the best location for future reefs. Photo by David Huppert

In North Carolina, and around the country, initiatives to restore oyster reefs can become a political, cultural, environmental, and economic quagmire. There are many competing interests at stake, from the livelihood of fishermen to government oversight to downstream water-quality issues. Scientists have long studied the many ecosystem services provided by oysters and are now stepping into the fray armed with data to prove where, why, and how to restore oyster reefs.
These days, the brave ones aren’t those eating the oysters. Rather, they are the men and women charged with keeping oysters in our waters and on our plates, now and into the future.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Job Opportunity Growing Algae for Oysters in Beautiful Cape May NJ

Position Title:  Algal Culturist; Laboratory Researcher IV, Grade 3


Summary:  Under the guidance of a supervisor, provides technical support relative to the production of unicellular algae in a pilot scale aquaculture demonstration facility. Prepares basic growth media, solutions, and chemical preparations needed for the culture of microalgae as required. Responsible for maintenance of both parent and working stock algal cultures, sterilization of associated equipment, and the production and maintenance of small scale (test tubes, flasks, carboys) to large scale (kalwalls, tanks) quantities of unicellular algae to be used in an aquaculture research and production facility. Constructs, maintains and cleans a variety of culture vessels and associated equipment. Primary location of position is at the New Jersey Aquaculture Innovation Center (NJ AIC) in North Cape May, NJ, but some interaction with and travel (~15 miles) to Rutgers Cape Shore Facility in Green Creek, NJ is likely to occur.  


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:  This position entails the production of microalgae for a pilot scale aquaculture demonstration facility for combined large-scale and experimental production of a variety of shellfish and fish. Must understand algal biology, basic bacteriology, and unicellular algal production techniques including stock culture maintenance and management, water quality management, disease/contamination monitoring, and sterile techniques. In addition, the position requires skill in maintaining algal inventory control and record keeping as well as all aspects of system operation and maintenance. The position requires limited mechanical skills related to plumbing and gas delivery systems, and the ability to learn and retain information regarding water chemistry and maintenance of water filtration and flowing water systems. Must have the ability to work independently, yet function as part of a team.


Qualifications:  Bachelor’s degree in a related field or an equivalent combination of education and/or relevant research experience. Must be computer literate with a working knowledge of word processing and spreadsheet operations. Must have a valid driver’s license.


Salary:  Starting: $39,229.  Includes full medical benefits, paid vacation/holidays, and retirement program.


Start Date:  As soon as possible.


Application Procedure:  Send cover letter and resume to:


Gregory A. DeBrosse

Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory

6959 Miller Avenue

Port Norris, NJ  08349


Phone: (609)463-0633


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Raising Oysters in Baltimore's Inner Harbor to Engage the Community

This article from the Baltimore Sun highlights how another city is engaging people in its waterfront through the use of oysters. Mass Oyster has been able to initiate a smaller educational initiative at the New England Aquarium, but there is a larger opportunity to give people an opportunity to become caretakers of a portion of the Harbor.  Think about it, that thin skim of oil around the dock is going to be of a lot greater concern if you are hosting 100 oysters for the Summer. 


volunteer Baltimore Maryland Inner Harbor Oyster
Mikey Francis, a senior at Digital Harbor

Planting time in Baltimore harbor

Students, adult volunteers raise oysters to help ailing Patapsco

October 15, 2013|Tim Wheeler

Baltimore's harbor may be too funky for swimming or fishing, but maybe a little gardening can help. Students from two city schools and some adult volunteers gathered at the National Aquarium Tuesday to "plant" some oysters in the Inner Harbor - not for eating but to try to improve the health of the ailing water body
"This is the first time anyone has tried planting this number of oysters in the Inner Harbor," said Adam Lindquist, coordinator of the Healthy Harbor campaign, an ambitious initiative aimed at making the Northwest and Middle branches of the Patapsco River swimmable and fishable by 2020.
map of Patapsco River in Maryland
Map of Patapsco River emptying into Baltimore Harbor
It's not the first oyster "garden" started in the harbor, but it's a step up from the small classroom projects performed to date. The 10 cages of baby oysters put in the dark water by the USS Torsk submarine today are the first wave of what is expected to be about 37,000 bivalves planted in five spots around the harbor this fall.
They're to be tended through the fall and winter by volunteers from several businesses that are members of the Waterfront Partnership, a sponsor of the Healthy Harbor campaign and the oyster gardening effort. The partnership teamed up with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which has been coordinating oyster gardening elsewhere around the bay and furnished the oysters, cages and technical know-how for this project. "Businesses have always been very supportive of the Healthy Harbor initiative," Lindquist said. "They've been asking us for opportunities to do more than go out one time a year and plant trees around the harbor."
Youngsters from the Green School, an elementary in Northeast Baltimore, attended the kickoff to explain how oysters help clean the water and support fish and other aquatic life. Fifth grader Ellie Cohen said she and her classmates had raised oysters in the harbor at the Living Classroom Foundation in Fells Point and took field trips to learn how the bivalves help the bay by filtering water.
"We had to dissect them in class," she said, adding that after that experience she's lost all interest in ever eating one.
Older students from Digital Harbor High School helped the adult volunteers assemble the wire cages in which the baby oysters are to be raised.  One of those on hand to try her hand at gardening was Rachel Duncan, who works nearby at the Constellation Energy offices on Pratt Street.
"This is my first exposure to oysters besides eating them,'' said Duncan, who's originally from Austin, Tex. "I learned a lot from the kids."
Other businesses whose employees volunteered included Brown Advisory, Legg Mason and T. Rowe Price. The adult volunteers will be expected to go out every month and clean the cages off.  After nine months, the cages will be pulled up one last time and the bivalves transferred to an underwater oyster sanctuary by Fort Carroll in the mouth of the Patapsco River.
The first oyster cages were placed just a short distance from a batch of floating wetlands the Waterfront Partnership also had built and placed.
This is just like the floating wetlands," Lindquist said.  "It’s a great way to engage people and the public about the value of the harbor and the ecosystem that is there if you just give it a chance."
Just as with the wetland floats, Lindquist said he expected the oyster cages will attract fish and other aquatic creatures and help soak up some of the nutrients in the harbor water that contribute to its warm-weather algae blooms. But he said he and other leaders of the cleanup effort were under no illusions about the impact of such demonstrations on the harbor, one of the most polluted spots in the entire bay.
"The bottom line is no amount of floating wetlands and no amount of oyster cages is going to make our harbor swimmable," he said. "The ultimate solution," he said, requires dealing with polluted runoff from city and suburban streets and parking lots, cleaning up the trash in the water and fixing the region's leaky sewage system.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Go beyond oyster restoration- become a caretaker of the species through aquaculture!

Seeking an entrepreneur(s) experienced with shellfish aquaculture. At the mouth of the York River on the Ches Bay our operation is fully equipped with 26+ acres of excellent leased grounds adjacent to upland site. Grounds feature great salinity and constant fast-moving current....Oysters grow very quickly.  3+ acre upland site is protected and zoned waterfront commercial with docks and moorings.  Also has 5,000 sq ft warehouse/shop plus a large residence and office/store for farm mgr with family and/or employee/partners.  

This came to us through a list serve we belong to. The York River is in Virginia and drains into the Chesapeake Bay.

Great distribution point; close to Interstate 64 and Route 17.  Perfect for an existing operation looking to expand geographically .  A great opportunity for the aspiring aquaculturalist who has the smarts, experience, and work ethic to be successful in aquaculture but may lack the capital, site, and/or partnership needed to get started.

Reply to this email or contact me directly.  All inquiries held in strictest confidence.  Tim


Tim D. McCulloch

Cell (757) 725 - 5538

Goodwin Island Oyster Company, LCC

(757) 755 - 5641

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Wellfleet Oyster Project Video

This terrific video featuring Curt Felix outlines the rationale and benefits of the Wellfleet Oyster Restoration Project Mass Oyster has been supporting with recycled shell and funding for student scientist interns.

The video speaks for itself. You can see why Curt adds so much to our Board and is an asset when we meet with State officials.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Oyster Restoration Audio Broadcast on Radio Times

This came to Mass Oyster through a friend.

"In this hour of Radio Times, we’ll discuss the latest on the health and well-being of Delaware Bay oysters with DANIELLE KREEGER, Science Director for the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, and DAVID BUSHEK, Director of the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory at Rutgers University. We’ll also hear from BRIAN HARMAN, Oyster Farm Manager at Atlantic Capes Fisheries, on oyster aquaculture."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ten things to do at the Wellfleet Oyster Festival this weekend

If you are considering heading to the Wellfleet Oyster Festival on Cape Cod this weekend, here are a list of 10 fun things you can do.
1.Tour an armchair tour of a restoration project. Saturday 10:00 am.
Lower Level, Wellfleet Preservation Hall, 335 Main Street
Take an ‘armchair’ tour of the flats with Wellfleet Shellfish Constable, Andy Koch, and Anamarija Frankic, lead scientist on Wellfleet's two acre oyster restoration project, professor at Umass Boston. Learn how the oyster reef improves water quality and the critical role shellfish play in a healthy ecosystem.
Free, no reservations necessary.
2. Get your photo taken in the Mass Oyster Cut out.
lobster oyster cutout for photos
The Mass Oyster Lobster cutout.

3. Compete in Sunday morning's road race. 
5K Adult Road Race
Mayo Beach Parking Lot
Sponsored by the Wellfleet Recreation Department. Check-in and on-site registration beginning at 7:30 am at Baker's Field Recreation Department. Advance registration form available
here or by visiting the Recreation Department, Town Hall, 300 Main Street, by phone 508.349.0314 or email:  Watch out for Mass Oyster Director Katie who will be at the front of the pack.

4. Watch the Oyster shucking competition.
Oyster Shuck-Off, Shucking Contest Preliminaries
Emceed by local hero and reporter, Eric Williams, host of CapeCast, the daily webcast of the Cape Cod Times, Register at the SPAT booth by 12:00 noon. Advance registration form available here or for more information email:
Prizes awarded: 1st Place-$1,000 2nd Place-$500 3rd Place-$250
5. Volunteer to help out.
SPAT Information Booth and Volunteer Check-in
Located just behind Town Hall next to the SPAT Boutique.
Stop by for information, volunteer check-in, registration forms, directions, email list sign up and more.
6. Catch the groundbreaking oyster film Shellshocked.
Wellfleet Public Library, 55 Main Street
‘SHELLSHOCKED: Saving Oysters to Save Ourselves' explores the importance and fragility of wild oysters in cleaning water and building ecosystems for other marine life. Today, because of overfishing and pollution, wild oyster reefs have been declared 'the most severely impacted marine habitat on Earth' and no longer play a role in their ecosystems. Now scientists, government officials, artists and high school students are fighting to bring oysters back to the former oyster capital of the world - New York Harbor. By filmmaker Emily Driscoll.
Free, no registration required.
7. Tour the historic town.
Wellfleet Historical Society, 266 Main Street
Explore the Town of Wellfleet and its 250 year old roots! Special exhibitions and refreshments will be offered.
8. Enjoyed a fried lobster tail!
Lobster- delicious food.
Frying is the wonder preparation technique that makes even dirt takes good.
Add the two together and you have a cardboard tray full of awesome mouth happiness.
9. Slurp down a dozen of your favorite mollusks (duh!)
10.Take home a head full of happy memories!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Using Oyster Restoration to Enhance Fishing in Maryland

Maryland is continuing to lead the way with innovative approaches to oyster restoration. Here oysters are being placed to improve the fishing at a popular fish pier. Oyster reefs can host 100's of other species, many of which are food sources for larger fish desired by sport fishermen including striped bass. One study showed that oysters could triple the number of fish. It is particularly interesting to see that they will be tracking the increase in fish caught at this location. We reprint this article below.

New oyster reef below Bill Burton Fishing Pier completed                            

Oysters restored below fishing pier.
The sun sets over Bill Burton Fishing Pier.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have finished construction of an oyster reef alongside the Bill Burton Fishing Pier. The pier is adjacent to the Fredrick C. Malkus Bridge, which connects Talbot and Dorchester counties. The completion of the reef in the Choptank River was celebrated on the pier by a crowd of anglers, families, and state, city and other officials.

Map of Choptank River Oysters Enhance Fishing
The Choptank River feed the Chesapeake Bay and is the largest river in the DelMarva Peninsula.

The reef was created by placing 300 concrete “reef balls” on the bottom of the river, immediately alongside the fishing pier. The two-foot tall, igloo-like reef balls were built by volunteers at CBF’s Oyster Restoration Center and by volunteers from the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association. All 300 were “set” with baby oysters (spat) by submerging them in large tanks of Bay water at the ORC and adding millions of oyster larvae spawned at the Horn Point Laboratory near Cambridge.

Patricia Campbell, CBF’s specially designed oyster restoration boat, deployed the reef balls throughout the summer, and placed the remaining 60 in the river last Saturday as the public looked on from the pier. Following the reef ball placement, the crew of Patricia Campbell overplanted them with one million “spat-on-shell” oysters produced at the ORC.

oyster restoration on reef ball attracts fish
Reef Ball covered in oysters provides shelter for the food chain that feeds sport fish.
Reef balls act as an artificial structure upon which oysters, mussels, barnacles and other benthic organisms can attach. Oyster shells are the normal substrate to which these species attach, but shells are in short supply. The three-dimensional artificial reef also serves as a habitat for fish like striped bass, sea bass and croaker and for crustaceans like blue crabs, mud crabs and grass shrimp.
“This should help the fishing community experience good fishing …. It’s available to the public. You don’t need a boat to fish it,” said Clint Waters, president of the MSSA’s Dorchester Chapter.

fishing children benefit from oyster restoration
Children's fishing lesson on the Bill Burton Fishing Pier 

The Bill Burton reef will be one of the most accessible oyster and fish reefs on the Eastern Shore. With the help of MSSA

The Bill Burton reef will be one of the most accessible oyster and fish reefs on the Eastern Shore. With the help of MSSA volunteers, the DNR and MARI are tracking the number of fish caught in the area, both before and after the reef’s construction to document the reef’s benefits as fish habitat.
The dedication celebration included fishing demonstrations, opportunities for the public to add oysters to the reef, guess-the-number-of-oyster-spat sponsored by the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, and hotdogs by Easton Ruritan.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Rising Sea Level Forum in Charlestown October 18th

On October 18th the Charlestown Waterfront Coalition is sponsoring a forum on the potential impact of rising sea levels at Charlestown's Bunker Hill Community College. The speaking panel includes a number of impressive people.
The Coalition sheltered, and in a sense incubated, Mass Oyster in its early days. The organization is active on multiple fronts.  
Sea level Forum Charlestown