On Sunday when I checked my oysters, there was some growth on my cages since last week, but the rate of “fouling” growth is slowing down as the water temperature drops. There was, however, quite an accumulation of silt and sediment on the oysters since last week.

Here’s what you should do for maintenance this week:

  1. Actively dunk your cages up and down in the water to remove silt and sediment from the spat so that they don’t smother and die.
  2. Give your cages a quick shake to keep the oysters from growing together.
  3. Leave the cages on your dock for about an hour to let any growth that has occurred to dry out and die.
  4. Set a timer so that you don’t forget to put the oysters back in the water. At this point in their development, the spat should not be exposed to the air for more than an hour or so or they will die.
  5. Make sure that your oysters are evenly distributed on the bottom of the cage and put them back in the water.

Avoid using your hose or power washer to clean the cages. The pressure from either can kill the spat. Please make sure that your cages never rest on the creek or river bottom. The oysters will quickly become smothered in mud and die.

Because the cages are suspended from your dock, it is easy for them to become “out-of-sight, out-of-mind”. Routine and simple maintenance of your cages will help to prevent/control fouling, which will allow the oysters to grow more quickly and the cages from becoming too heavy. As an ongoing reminder, we have included a refrigerator “reminder” magnet.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit our website (www.oystersforthebay.com), we would invite you to do so.

That’s it for this week. Please call Suzanne Anderson at 410-822-9143 if you have any problems with the maintenance of your cages. Talk to you next week!

Sincerely,

Scott W. Eglseder, Founder
The Chesapeake Bay “Advance and Protect” Oyster Reef Recovery Initiative