Market-sized oysters in only five months?

20 February 2020, at 10:00am

Pacific oysters can reach market size in a mere five months given the right conditions, according to the results of a new trial.

The trial, which took place in Ecuador’s Chone River estuary, evaluated the growth and survival of Crassostrea gigas in lantern nets.

The oysters grew from under 10g to 80g in only five months
The oysters grew from under 10g to 80g in only five months

Oyster seeds (~10 mm) were confined in the nets at a density equal to the occupation of half the surface of the basket base, until reaching commercial size (80 mm). A sample for oyster biometric, parasitic and bacterial analysis was obtained monthly.

Temperature, salinity, oxygen concentration, seston and phytoplankton biomass were determined. At the end of the study, the oysters were analysed for heavy metal concentration.

The commercial oyster production was extrapolated to estimate the possible economic performance of a family production module (a 7m × 7m bamboo raft).

The researchers concluded that the results show “a great biological feasibility” of culture of C. gigas, after the oysters reached commercial size in only five months and survival rates of over 70 percent.

They also found that the heavy metal concentrations and the parasitological and bacteriological analyses did not indicate levels of contamination.

In economic terms they concluded that families operating rafts equipped with lantern nets could recover their invested capital after only one harvest.

An abstract of the study, which was published in Aquaculture Research under the title "Suspended culture evaluation of Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas in a tropical estuary", can be accessed here.

Senior editor at The Fish Site

Rob Fletcher has been writing about aquaculture since 2007, as editor of Fish Farmer, Fish Farming Expert and The Fish Site. He has an MA in history from the University of Edinburgh and an MSc in sustainable aquaculture from the University of St Andrews. He currently lives and works in Scotland.

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