Water quality is extremely important to a hatchery because of its affects on shellfish growth. The pristine waters of Quilcene Bay in the Pacific Northwest create the perfect environment for our Quilcene hatchery. We use the baywater, filtered and heated, for growing our shellfish spat (larvae and seed).
We grow our own algae which we feed to the shellfish larvae and seed. The age of the spat determines the species of algae that it is fed. Other than the algae which we provide, our seed is given no additional supplements, although it may filter some nutrients from the bay water.
The algae species we culture include: Thalassiosira sp., Skeletonema sp., Isochrysis sp (Tahitian), Monochrysis (Pavlova) lutheri, Chaetoceros muerlli, and Tetraselmis sp.
Our broodstock program consists of a planned selection for high quality broodstock. When choosing broodstock, some considerations include the shape of the oyster, a nice cup size and genetic diversity.
The broodstock is slowly warmed and incrementally fed in order to condition them so they will spawn when needed, not in late summer, as it would on it’s own.
After spawning is accomplished, the fertilized eggs are placed into growing tanks. The fertilized eggs develop into larvae, which are monitored daily and sorted regularly for growth and health.
At approximately 15 days the larvae develop “eye spots”, at which point they are ready to “set”. They are removed from the larval tanks and are then either:
Put into setting tanks filled with cultch (recycled oyster shells from our processing/shucking facility in South Bend, Washington, or put into a downwell/ upwell system for growing single individual oysters or sold to third party shellfish farmers for setting and grow-out at their facilities. We pack and ship larvae worldwide.