Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Seafood Article and Two Videos

New RCTB member Ted Busfield  wrote:
"I came across this article recently and thought you might find interesting. Clams are in the top 10 most popular makeup of more than 90% of the fish eaten, according to NOAA."

New RCTB member MaryJo Martone created the following short video that I would like to share 

The following video came to my e-mail box and  the underwater photography is so fantastic I think you will enjoy it as much as I did

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Many Volunteers Helped IBSP Upweller Team

As Labor Day marks the end of the summer vacation season we at the IBSP upweller would like to thank the many visitors and vacationers who stopped by to learn about our program and to volunteer with our clean up activities.  We are especially grateful for the efforts of Amanda and Anthony Barbosa our special “junior volunteers” who came to the upweller at least ten times this summer and spend a combined 40 hours of volunteer labor.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Congressman Runyon visits Upweller

On Tuesday August 28th third district Congressman Jon Runyon paid a visit to our upweller at Cattus Island in Toms River.  Congressman Runyon and a group led by Stan Hales from the Barnegat Bay Partnership were about to board the Ocean County Parks touring boat on a fact finding cruise of Barnegat Bay.  RCTB president Rick Bushnell and upweller team captain Clint Lehman gave a detailed explanation of our mission and the workings of the upweller and the spat-on-shell tank.  Also present was Richard Shaw  from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service who gave a brief lecture on his research involving the composition of soil samples taken from the bay. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mid-Season Report

Now that the 2012 growing season is well underway I would like to report on the conditions in the northern area of Barnegat Bay.  The three north upwellers received this years supply of seed oysters on June 8 with IBSP and MYC receiving appox. 30K (vol. 250ml) and CI receiving 60K. (vol. 500ml).  They have been growing at a very rapid rate with volumes of 100,100 at CI and 35400 at IBSP.  But on July 21st we discovered a tragic loss of all oysters at the MYC upweller.  Runoff from a newly paved street caused by a severe rainstorm and the loss of power for one or more days appears to be the cause.  Fortunately the majority of our clams were able to survive and we are still attempting to evaluate the mortality rate.
On June 25th IBYC and MYC received 105,000 (2000ml) clams each and they have more than doubled in volume in the last seven weeks.  
On June 6th Gef brought 3.1 million oyster larvae to Cattus Island to begin this years Spat-on-Shell project. We placed 90 mesh bags containing surf clam shells in our tank.  Four weeks later on July 11 we removed five bags and counted the spat on each shell.  We were disappointed to discover a low set rate of 1.75%.  We emptied the tank and brought the shells with their spat to the oyster reef.  Gef was able to obtain quite a few trays and on August 1st we filled 12 trays with oysters and placed them in the now empty tank.  On August 8th we checked the growth rate in the tank and were pleased to discover an average growth rate of 27% in one week.

One of the better spat settings

Friday, June 8, 2012

Oyster Babies Come to Upwellers

The 2012 growing season officially began this week.  On Tuesday June 5 Gef delivered 200,000 seed oysters to the following upwellers.  Cattus Island received 50,000 and MYC and IBSP received 25,000 each.  On LBI the following upweller sites got 25,000 each, Surf City, Barnegat Light, Brant Beach and Beach Haven.

This photo shows the average size of a seed oyster to be between 2-3 mm.

  1. On Wednesday June 6, Gef came to Cattus Island with 3 million eyed larvae oysters to start this year’s Spat-on-Shell remote setting project.  A good number of RCTB members and  “clam college” students were in attendance along with a group of students from Ocean County College who happened on a nature field trip with the park naturalist Chris Claus.    Bill Shadel from the American Littoral Society was given the task of distributing the larvae into the tank.  The larvae will set on the surf clam shells in one to three days and become spat.  The oysters will than remain there for their entire life span.  In four weeks we will take the shell bags with their spat to the reef at Good Luck Point.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Two References on the History of Oysters

I was recently made aware of two very interesting references dealing with the history of the oyster in America.  Lisa Frosberg pointed out to me that the current issue of the Smithsonian magazine has an article titled “The Decades-Long Come-back of Mark Twain’s Favorite Food” by Andrew Beahrs
It deals mainly with the West Coast native oyster called the Olympia.
The second reference is a book entitled “The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell” by Mark Kurlansky.  Here is a review of the book
From Publishers Weekly Here's a chatty, free-wheeling history of New York City told from the humble perspective of the once copious, eagerly consumed, now decimated eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginicas). Research addict Kurlansky (Cod, etc.) starts from the earliest evidence of Lenape oyster middens, or beds, discovered by explorer Henry Hudson and others as evidence that natives enjoyed the shellfish as a delicacy, much as the Europeans did. When the Dutch arrived, the estuary of the lower Hudson, with its rich confluence of rivers, contained 350 square miles of oyster beds—"fully half of the world's oysters." The huge oyster stores contributed mightily to the mercantile wealth and natural renown of New Amsterdam, then inherited by the British, who were crazy about oysters; pickled oysters became an important trade with British West Indies slave plantations. While cheap, oysters appealed equally to the rich and poor, prompting famous establishments such as black-owned Downing's oyster cellar and Delmonico's (the enterprising author handily supplies historic recipes). The exhaustion of the city's oyster beds and pollution by sewage effectively eclipsed the consumption of local oysters by the 1920s, yet the lowly oyster still promotes the health of the waterways by its natural filtering system as well as indicating the purity of the water. Kurlansky's history digresses all over the place, and sparkles. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

2012 Growing Season Begins

On Friday May 4th the 2012 RCTB growing season began in the north end of Barnegat Bay.  Jeff Silady and the crew of volunteers from the Mantoloking Yacht Club joined by Bill Shadel from the American Littoral Society reopened the upweller and filled all 10 silos with one year old oysters.  The oysters had overwintered in mesh bags in two Taylor Floats.  The floats were then power washed and one was returned to the bay with  older oysters and the other was taken to Sedge where it will spend the rest of the season.  After MYC was up and running Jeff drove south to the Island Beach State Park upweller where he was met by Manny and some of his crew and the process was repeated.  Again all 10 silos were filled with young oysters where they will grow until the 2012 seed arrive in early July.