University of Maryland Extension

Remote Setting

Remote Setting is a method of producing seed that was developed in the Pacific Northwest. It relies on hatcheries to produce oyster seed up to the eyed pediveliger stage just prior to the time when the animals get ready to undergo metamorphosis, attach to a substrate and become spat. At this point the larvae can be removed from water, kept moist and cool and they will become dormant.  This was a key piece of knowledge in the development of hatchery production.

This process allows the hatchery to produce vast quantities of eyed larvae and provide them to growers who are better able to set them on shell and care for them until planting.  It is a perfect division of labor and provides growers with affordable seed.  The grower is responsible for providing a setting tank sized to his or her needs.  The tank is filled with containerized shell and local water.  A high volume blower aerates the water to keep the larvae circulating throughout the shell while they attach to them and become spat.

University of Maryland researchers introduced remote setting in the early 1980s and it has become a critical part of the new oyster industry as growers develop leases.  UM Extension has provided information to growers for many years on the types and sizes of systems and the proper methods of setting.  A current project provides twenty-five setting tanks at nine locations throughout the bay area.  Growers can use these systems for two-week periods between June and September.  Technicians provide training in the setting process and return to estimate spat production.  During the past three years over half a billion seed oysters have been produced by Maryland growers using these systems.

In addition to technical assistance, UME faculty have produced a reference publication about the process and the systems as well as a spreadsheet used to calculate the cost of the seed produced.

Remote Setting Cost Analysis Publication 

(PDF Document)

Remote Setting Cost Analysis Spreadsheet

(Excel Document)

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