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.
Maryland offers both traditional Submerged Land Leases as well as Water Column Leases and, with the development of a Regional General Permit with the US Army Corps of Engineers, has been able to make permits easier to obtain. There are also Nursery Permits for those producing seed.
Starting a shellfish aquaculture business requires many important decisions. These include: what type of gear to use; what markets to target with your products; where to find a suitable lease and what type to apply for; how to make out the applications; where to find financing; and many others that can make or break the business.
The traditional method of oyster production is bottom culture using a Submerged Land Lease (SLL) granted by the State of Maryland. This creates a landlord/tenant relationship between the grower and the State, allowing the leaseholder to grow oysters using methods that mimic a natural oyster reef.
There has been much concern regarding the precipitous decline in Mid Atlantic oyster production, with various groups attempting to place blame and espouse causes. However, it is instructive to veer away from traditional arguments to compare oysters with traditional agricultural crops for a different view of the problem and a vision for potential solutions. Comparing production of oysters with other crops allows us to examine how those have been managed over time to increase production. The United States today is considered a world leader in food production. Taking lessons from that development and applying them to oysters could help guide the restoration of the industry that once flourished.
Remote setting is a technique that uses hatchery larvae to produce spat on shell for planting oyster grounds. The method has been successfully employed as a key part in building the Maryland oyster aquaculture industry. This manual covers system components, operation and management and is used for training new growers and for reference by experienced ones to enable them to produce quality seed for planting leases.