Oysters destined for double-duty

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
20 July 2007, at 1:00am

US - Oysters are prized for their taste and contribute to a vibrant aquaculture industry on the Cape. Now, in a new experiment, the town of Orleans is banking on these aquatic filter feeders to improve the water quality of coastal embayments.

On Monday, July 16, more than 35 volunteers from the Mill Pond Preservation Association and members of the Orleans Harbourmaster Department placed more than a million oyster seed in Mill Pond in an effort to encourage large-scale oyster growing in the waters.

Two pickup trucks and a trailer loaded with 350 mesh bags of oyster seed were transported to the beach. The seed, barely the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, were attached to broken shells. The volunteers placed the bags on long PVC pipes in the brackish water near the landing.

The hope is that each bag will yield about 1,000 oysters that will take about two to three years to grow to 2 inches when they can be harvested.

Eileen Godin, president for the association, said the idea is that the oysters would be available only for recreational harvesting and any commercial gathering would quickly wipe out the beds.

The Cape Cod Co-operative Extension provided the oyster seed.

Bill Walton, an aquaculture specialist with the extension service, said oysters could have a positive impact on water quality.

Source: The Cape Codder