A once-niche industry, oyster farming has experienced significant expansion in recent years due to rising demand for these delicious shellfish. For oyster farmers, optimising output means more than just making money; it means maintaining a profitable enterprise and satisfying the expectations of a growing market that is constantly looking for consistency in the supply of high quality oysters. We at Hexcyl Systems are dedicated to offering top quality equipment while imparting practical knowledge of ways to assist you the farmer to produce high quality oysters year after year. In this article we will outline techniques that we’ve found to help maximize oyster farming yields in your operation.

 “There’s no money in growing oysters…….only in selling oysters”

Techniques for Maximizing Oyster Yield

There are many different approaches to oyster farming, and each has advantages and disadvantages of its own. Intertidal adjustable long-line farming is one such technique that entails hanging oyster cages or baskets from horizontal lines supported by regularly spaced posts. This proven technique keeps the oysters up off the seabed and provides good water circulation, which encourages healthy growth and lowers the chance of fouling. For this technique we ensure that our Hexcyl oyster baskets are meticulously designed to enhance the growth and development of oysters. When planning to buy your baskets, make sure to look for a system with components made of durable, impact resistant materials like Hexcyl baskets and constructed with innovative yet practical features suited for adjustable longlines and with a range of mesh sizes to ensure excellent water circulation to promote optimal growth and minimize marine fouling at each stage of oyster grow-out.

Oyster farming success is critically dependent on a combination of timing of grading and handling and stocking density practices. Oyster spat when properly introduced to your farm in the right mesh size at the optimal time of year being spring, summer and early autumn at the latest, will provide the best chance of promoting uniform growth and enhanced survival rates. The management of stocking densities and timing of each grading activity is an important consideration at every stage of grow-out from spat through to sales.  If marine biofouling of the basket mesh is not an issue the easiest way to determine the ideal time to grade the spat is if the 3mm or 5mm mesh baskets are 1/3 full when held vertically. 

Overcrowding often leads to competition for nutrients and space resulting in misshapen shell, stunted growth, increases in parasitic worm species, inconsistent meat quality and if left too long……..mortalities. An insufficient density may result in wasted space, excessive shell pruning by excessive rumbling and physical stress causing stunted growth and again…….mortalities. Finding the optimal balance when initially stocking the baskets is key to maximizing your oyster yield. Initial stocking densities should reflect the size of oyster expected to be reached and expected time taken during the growing phase between each grading activity. For 10mm, 15mm and 20mm mesh baskets if the baskets are ½ full then that is the ideal time to commence your grading regimen.   

Nutrient management is another critical aspect of oyster farming particularly for conditioning of oysters in waters with low water flow or nutrient availability. Moderate densities and clean basket mesh promotes better water flow to transport available nutrients which can dramatically improve uniformity in shell growth and oyster meat condition.

Maintaining ideal conditions for oyster growth and minimising marine biofouling require routine drying and cleaning not only of the oysters but of the oyster farming infrastructure as well. Having the ability to adjust the growing height of the oysters out on the farm by exposing the oysters to intermittent wave energy and tidal activity is the best way to manage the growth, condition and hygiene of the oysters. Adjusting the line heights also assists in minimising the marine biofouling on the baskets between each of the handling and grading activities which is usually many months apart. 

Your can reduce the chance of equipment failure and increase productivity of your farm first by considering investing in our robust Hexcyl range of oyster baskets and associated products and just as importantly by correctly installing adjustable longline infrastructure during the initial farm setup phase. If you require help with tips on farm set-up, assistance from Hexcyl’s experienced team is just an email or phone call away.

Environmental Considerations

The environment must be taken into account in order to maximise oyster farming yields. Due to their extreme sensitivity to environmental changes, oysters can be greatly impacted by even seemingly little adjustments to the temperature, pollution levels, or water quality. The modern longline oyster farming practice of adjusting the growing height provide oyster farmers with the ideal management tool allow them to better manage the seasonal changes of the growing environment. A profitable and sustainable oyster farming industry requires infrastructure components and materials to be fit for purpose to help preserve the marine environment that is so important to the success of oyster farming for generations to come.   

At Hexcyl Systems we recognize the critical role of environmental stewardship in maintaining the integrity of the hard won reputation of oyster farming as a clean, green sustainable industry. Hexcyl Systems acknowledged this responsibility at the inception of the company which is why our range of products have been designed and manufactured to the highest standards setting the benchmark and leading the way for all other brand manufacturers to follow. Hexcyl Systems is proud of our achievement in being the only company being in a position to offer a five year material and manufacturing warranty on our full range of HDPE oyster baskets.

Long-Line Oyster Farming Systems by Hexcyl Systems

Hexcyl’s adjustable long-line oyster farming systems offer a streamlined approach to intertidal oyster cultivation, maximizing both efficiency, yield and quality. By suspending oyster baskets from adjustable longlines, our systems provide excellent water circulation and minimizing sediment build up reducing infestation of marine parasites resulting in healthier, high quality, robust oysters.

With Hexcyl’s innovative products and expert guidance, you can take your oyster farming operation to new heights, achieving bumper crops and sustainable success for years to come. 

Contact us today at +61 (0) 8 8625 3927 or sales@hexcylsystems.com.au to learn more about how Hexcyl Systems can help you maximize your oyster yield and achieve your farming goals.

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