- Expansion of shellfish hatchery in Southold
- Produce all seed shellfish (clams) and spat on shell oysters necessary to satisfy project targets for sanctuaries (115million)
In order to enhance the hard clam populations on Long Island our team of aquaculture experts and technicians work with a broodstock of adult male and female clams in our shellfish hatchery to produce new juvenile clams that can be transported into our nursery systems around the Island. Our broodstock is a combination of adult clams from Long Island Sound, Great Sound Bay, and the Peconic Bay area. The combination of clams from multiple sites keeps high genetic diversity in our populations to make sure healthy populations are spawned. Once the broodstock is selected, our hatchery staff slowly increase the water temperature, in addition to increase the amount of food availability to mimic natural spawning conditions. After spawning the sperm and eggs are removed and recombined in specific amounts to maximize fertilization. For the next couple weeks our hatchery staff will closely monitor the free swimming larval clams to monitor survivability and monitor growth. At roughly 3-4weeks, the larval clams will start to settle and start to resemble clams. Once the clams reach a specific size they are then transported to our network of Floating Upweller Systems, or FLUPSYs, which will act as their nursery until they are ready to by planted at sanctuary sites in the region.
Before clams are big enough to be eaten, there is a lot happening. For about 2-3 weeks after clams are spawned, they are free swimming in the water. During this period they undergo a metamorphosis which allows them to settle and grow into their large more easily recognizable counter parts. The video below shows the free swimming clams in our hatchery.