Many growers who have gotten into shellfish production are finding that they require better management skills. They have developed their leases and taken advantage of the programs that have trained them in producing seed and planting it effectively. Others have developed skills in managing their product to get oysters of better shape and meat quality.
New demands for advanced topics are being addressed by UM Extension. Workshops are being planned to demonstrate to growers how to gather data that can be used to make more informed decisions about their animals. Knowing how to judge the larvae and seed obtained from a variety of hatcheries or to look at differences between lines of oysters can make your business more profitable. Looking at new methods of renovating bottom cultch can aid a grower by lowering fuel and labor costs while cleaning areas with more efficiency.
Knowing the signs of oyster diseases, the principal cause of the collapse of our natural resource, can help growers decide when to harvest and market shellfish. Understanding the life cycle of predators may help in predicting their impact upon the crop.
These are some of the areas that UM Extension is addressing as growers become more adept at managing their leases and asking for information targeted at their management issues. We will be producing a series of publications for these topics and developing workshops and demonstration projects to aid growers in solving these problems to rebuild our Maryland shellfish industry and the many people that it once supported.