Frequently Asked Questions

We have tried to be as thorough as possible.If we have missed something or you have a question, please contact us.

frequently asked questions

Where can I purchase Spat?

One of our most popular questions…We have compiled a list of American Spat sellers.  See list.

Are the larger spat worth the additional cost?

Larger spat do have advantages over smaller spat if you are a commercial farmer. For oyster gardening  there is no real advantage unless your equipment is not suited to contain small spat. The only  advantage is your mortality rate will reduce a small amount.

Do I need to feed the oysters I grow?

There is no need to feed oysters. Oysters naturally feed on phytoplankton or algae with is suspended in the water table.

What does it take to be an oyster gardener?

To become a oyster gardener, you’ll require access to a water front located in a Estuary, Bay, Private Marina, Private jetty In front of your property or a friends water front property or a location designated for oyster gardening projects.

Once you have a site, all you need to do is purchase one of Zapco’s Oyster Gardening Kits, which are extremely easy to set up and Spat from your local Oyster hatchery.   Within 1 hour to 2 hours, depending on the location, the farm will be completed.

Then you will be an official Oyster Gardener!

How much time can I expect to spend tending my oysters?

Tending oysters using the Zapco Tumbler or Floating bag system requires very little amount of your time. Its a good idea to check your oysters each week to make sure every thing is OK. Every 3 – 4 weeks we recommend that you remove the Tumblers and give them a good clean with a brush to remove any barnacle or any other type of Over catch  bulild up. Also, make sure the oysters are not over stocked -remember 6 to 6.5 quarts is Max volume in each Tumbler or Floating bag.

 3 – 4 weeks you should flip the bag on top of the bag next to it to air dry for 24 -36 hours.  Repeat this with the bag next to it. Once finished flip it back into the water until the next 3 – 4 weeks.

Once every 12 -16 weeks we recommend that you check the volume in the bags to see if they require to be graded. This should only take around 1-1/2 to 2 hours. All you need is a good flat surface like a table to sort your oysters.

So totally time required to maintain your oyster garden is 3 to 4 hours per month.

 

 

 

 

 

How long can oysters stay out of the water?

Time out of the water depends on the species of oyster and the temperature of the climate the oysters are located. Some Rock Oysters can survive up to two weeks out of the water in harsh conditions whereas Pacific or Virginica Oysters can only survive for 3 – 4 days out of the water in warm climates.  Oysters farmed in cold climates can live out of the water for months as long as the temperature is maintained around or below 39F / 4C

When air drying we recommend do not dry in temperatures above 86F / 30C and above. Always check the local weather report prior to air drying.

 

 

 

 

 

Where do oysters grow best?

Ideal conditions are:

Plenty of water flow and circulation or tidal flushing of the waterway.

This provides good oxygen, lots of food source (Plankton, Algae) and the removal of the oyster’s waste products

Optimal salinity: greater than 8 parts per thousand

How long does it take to grow oyster?

Oyster growth rates are effected by many factors.

  • Location
  • Temperature
  • Species
  • Salinity levels
  • Plankton and Algae levels

General growth rate for oysters is between

  • 12 -18 months in warm climates
  • 18 – 24 months in mild climates
  • 24 – 36 months in cold climates
What should the salinity of the water be?

Oysters can live at salinities as low as five or six parts per thousand for a few days, but they thrive at salinities above 20 parts per thousand. The salinity is usually greater and more consistent in areas with active tidal flushing and a relatively small watershed.

Areas that produce extreme fluctuations in salinity should be avoided. Creeks or rivers draining large
watersheds are more likely to produce damaging freshwater influxes. Rainfall runoff leaves large watersheds more slowly, and prolongs the exposure of shellfish to low salinities and runoff pollution.

How do I shuck an oyster?

You can learn how to shuck an oyster by following this tutorial.

Can I eat the oysters I grow?

It’s recommended you contact your local Marine authorities to make sure it would be OK to eat oysters grown in your location before consuming any oysters.