Updated hatchery to boost baby oyster production in this US state
Big things are expected to come out of an updated oyster hatchery in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Most notably, the new facility aims to double baby oyster production and aid in seeding public oyster grounds along the coast of the Pelican State.
The improved operation – which is headed by LSU professor and Sea Grant collaborator John Supan, and is owned by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries – could potentially produce 1 billion oyster larvae a year, nearly double what the hatchery was able to produce in 2014 sans its upgrade.
“Every citizen in Louisiana will benefit from the research that is done here,” said F. King Alexander, LSU’s president, to The Advocate.
The hatchery upgrades ran for USD 3 million (EUR 2.7 million), which was funded by restoration money from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment; Supan and others involved in the hatchery upgrade were able to use those funds to purchase 850 acres of clutch material to help facilitate growth in various public oyster seed grounds all around Louisiana. The state is in the process of building another facility in Buras to house baby oysters in large tanks before placing them in the wild.
As a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in 2010, much of the Louisiana oyster population has suffered. While the now state-of-the-art hatchery won’t reinvigorate the entire population depleted in the disaster, it will serve as a good jump-start for areas dealing with the most difficulty, Patrick Banks, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries oyster program manager, told The Advocate.
The hatchery will be producing triploid seed oysters – these oysters have three chromosomes instead of two, and are sterile, thus allowing the molluscs to grow fast and stay plump during the summer months. Growers can purchase triploid seed oysters through the Louisiana Oyster Dealers and Growers Association.