The American Eastern Oyster's (Crassostrea virginica) wild population numbers are in sharp decline due to water quality and disease. This spells disaster for both the American Oyster farmer and consumer as Crassostrea virginica is the most consumed oyster in the United States. The American Oyster's presence along American coastal waters are the basis of important reef systems and water filtration. The overall goal is to test the feasibility of rearing American Eastern Oysters in a Recirculating Biofloc Aquaculture System. This system should reduce/eliminate losses or reduced quality of oyster stock affected by environmental factors, predators, natural disasters, and disease. As a result, oysters reared in this system should provide a higher quality end product and as a corollary allow the farmer to demand a higher price point.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Evaluate the respiration, feeding, and metabolism rates of American Eastern Oyster's (Crassostrea virginica) in a closed-loop Recirculating Biofloc Aquaculture System
- Evaluate and compare Growth rates of American Eastern Oysters (Crassostrea virginica) reared in a Recirculating Biofloc Aquaculture System to the documented growth rates of wild American Eastern Oysters (Crassostrea virginica) in order to form a viable harvest projection.
- Identify Algal mix best suited for Oyster growth by life stage
- Evaluate Algal nitrate consumption in a Recirculating Biofloc Aquaculture System
- Evaluate Consumer response to Oyster quality
- Evaluate Commercial response to Oyster quality
- Evaluate new/exiting local farmers interests in adopting this system