Sustainable Oyster Farming!
Oysters play a major role in the heath of our oceans and coast lines. This is why sustainable oyster farming is very important! Nothing is better than a shucked oyster, but knowing that you are eating sustainable oysters makes it much better! At Carolina Gold Oyster Company, sustainable oyster farming is our goal. Below, we have listed 4 reasons why oysters are sustainable.
Oysters Filter the Seawater
Oysters are part of the bivalve family, they are officially a salt-water bivalve mollusk. They are brilliant at filtering dirty seawater. An adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day! This species play a vital role at keeping seawater balanced so other species can exist.
Oyster Shells Capture CO2
Oysters remarkably act as tiny carbon sinks, as their shells capture it in the water and lock it in. Too much CO2 in the ocean makes it too acidic. This causes it to be harder for shellfish to grow shells. Oysters, however, are not affected by rises in CO2 and use it as an ingredient in their shells.
Oysters extract nitrogen from our waterways and incorporate it into their tissues and shells. While some nitrogen is needed in the water, there is often too much. For example; nitrogen can be caused by fertilizer run off. This lowers the oxygen levels in the water making it difficult for marine species to thrive.
Now that you know about sustainable oyster farming, let’s talk about how we grow our oysters! Our oysters are grown in the wild, just like any other wild oyster would. Oysters feed off natural plankton and algae organisms that already grow in the water. Carolina Gold Oysters grow in a floating bag/cage system. This system has floating mesh bags/cages that hold the oysters just below the surface of the water column. To have a general idea, the water column is measured from the bottom surface of the body of water to the top surface of the body of water. This area of the water column is proven to be the highest quality of food provided by Mother Nature. Because Carolina Gold Oysters are growing in the water column, they never touch the mud. This is preventative of being gritty and muddy when harvested.
Cultivated Shellfish Sustainable Oyster Farming
Shellfish cultivation is a highly sustainable way of producing seafood. Cultivated shellfish get nutrition from their surroundings, so they don’t require added food, chemicals, or antibiotics to grow. They also can’t be over-harvested, and they relieve pressures on wild shellfish populations. When growers harvest cultivated oysters or clams, they remove no more shellfish from the water than they originally put into it.
The coastal environment also benefits from shellfish production. When oysters and clams feed, they filter water, thereby improving its clarity and quality. In fact, a single oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. Clearer water fosters the growth of marine vegetation, which in turn provides habitat for sea life, such as juvenile crabs and finfish.
SOURCE: Content on this page was sourced from the NC Sea Grant. https://ncseagrant.ncsu.edu/aquaculture/north-carolina-cultured-shellfish/