By Beth David, Editor
The Town of Fairhaven and The Nature Conservancy, with some help from two local oyster farmers, planted more than 16,000 oysters in Little Bay this week.
Over the years, the project has created an oyster reef using “cultch,” a mix of shells and other material to create a habitat for oysters.
Steve Kirk of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), said they have been working on the reef for years, and have planted oysters several times.
The Oysters came from Matthew Loo’s aquaculture farm, and West Island Oysters, both in Fairhaven. TNC bought the oysters that are large enough for harvesting, but probably not ideal for the fancy oyster bar market, the culls, if you will, that are viable, but might not look pretty on a plate.
“Basically, whatever they wanted to give to this project, we bought it from them,” said Mr. Kirk. “They were probably not the ones they were going to send to their raw bar market.”
The purpose of the “environmental improvement project” is to clean the waters of the bay. Oysters and other bivalves filter water, removing sediment and nitrogen. An oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day.
“It’s designed to be one piece of the puzzle in trying to keep the water clean,” said Mr. Kirk. “A project like that is not going to solve the waer quality problem in Buzzards Bay, but it is one piece of the puzzle.”
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