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Oyster hatchery program produces millions

NORTH CAROLINA - Millions of baby oysters hatched at Carteret Community College's newly remodeled aquaculture facility are on their way to the wild.

The three-week-old larval oysters were delivered to a nursery area run by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries earlier this week.

This cooperative effort to replenish North Carolina's native oyster population is funded through the N.C. Oyster Hatchery Program, spearheaded by the North Carolina Aquariums.

Adult male and female oysters were collected from the wild and transported to the hatchery, which is part of the Aquaculture Technology Program at Carteret Community College.

By manipulating water temperature, hatchery technicians encouraged the oysters to reproduce in an artificial environment. For two weeks, the young oysters were fed algae grown at the facility.

Last week, the larval oysters developed a "foot," meaning they were ready to move to outdoor tanks loaded with recycled oyster shells. The foot will attach to the recycled shell and, after seven to 10 days, the "seeded" shell will be removed from the tanks and placed in sanctuaries established by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.

Source: The Outer Banks Sentinel