shells into the trash. Return them to the Bay or find someone who collects them for reuse. Many seafood restaurants accept them gratefully.
In this next photo, about two dozen spat several weeks old have set on the inside of an oyster shell; more are on the other side. This is too many for aquaculture purposes because those that sur v ive w ill grow into clumps that will need to be broken apart. Ten to fifteen spat would be about right, with the expectation that two or three may survive. (Of course, in the wild with predators swarming, there cannot be too many.) Recently, some clever people have found a solution to the cultch prob-
lem. Remember that pediveligers are very small indeed, barely visible to the naked eye? Well, as it turns out, they don’t need a whole shell to set on. Just a piece of a shell will work. Indeed, spat will set successfully on tiny bits of shell. Best of all, this material (called “micro-cultch”) can be left in place as the oysters grow out, for it adds almost nothing to the weight or appearance of an adult oyster. Micro-cultch looks like fine sand and can be reused. Once set on micro-cultch, the “seed” oysters can be transferred to tanks and fed by pumping Bay
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Tidewater Times June 2017