Pacific Shellfish has been successful as a leader in larval shellfish production. We began harvesting natural beds on the Pacific Coast in 1946 and later imported Japanese oyster seed to replant them. Today, we are the largest single producer in the world, owning and operating more than 17,000 State Certified Pacific Coast Tidelands.
To meet our growing need for consistent, high quality oyster larvae and seed, we developed a hatchery in Quilcene, Washington and also in Kona, Hawaii. We provide other shellfish growers worldwide with a variety of oyster and clam species, plus algae feeds and various support services.
Quilcene Hatchery & Research Facility
At our Quilcene Hatchery, advanced technology, experienced technicians and a superb natural environment have combined to make it the world’s largest shellfish hatchery capable of producing over 45 billion eyed oyster larvae (Diploid and Triploid) per year.
This capability also allows us to provide other shellfish growers worldwide with a variety of oyster and clam species, plus various support services.
Airfreight services allow shipment of live larvae and seed to virtually any destination in the world within 48 hours. In addition, we work with licensed analytical laboratories to provide fully tested and certified products to meet all government import standards. Complete procedural guidelines on proper setting techniques, algae feeding instructions and other consultation is available as needed.
Kona Hatchery & Nursery Facility
Our Kona Hatchery was built to provide us with a sustained shellfish larvae and seed resource to ensure our ongoing harvest.
Our site is located at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) in Kona, Hawaii. Here we can take advantage of the abundant sunshine necessary to grow the micro algae diet required to feed larvae and juvenile shellfish. We are also able to utilize the cold, nutrient rich, deep seawater and warm surface seawater already available at the NELHA facility.
Geographic diversity of our Kona and Quilcene hatcheries ensures us a consistent supply of shellfish larvae and seed.
Learn more about our hatchery process here.
Two Farming Methods: On Bottom & Off Bottom
With the On Bottom method of farming, cultch (recycled oyster shells) with spat (oyster larvae which has permanently attached itself to cultch) is spread across the tidelands. Oysters planted using the On Bottom method generally take about 2-3 years to reach harvestable size.
Off Bottom – Long Line
With the Off Bottom farming method, shells with spat attached, are woven into rope which is suspended with plastic pipes. This method allows for good water flow which in turn helps the oysters to grow to harvestable size in about 2 years.
Our fleet of jet-driven boats allow us to harvest in as little as 3 feet of water. We can conduct our farming and harvesting activities for a longer period of time without being dependent on the tide.
Oysters are unloaded from the harvest vessels onto a conveyer system which takes them into the processing plant to get shucked or processed for live in-shell sale. We have three plants: One in South Bend, one in Eureka and another in Bay City. Our plant is a Level 1 (highest rating) HACCP processing facility located in South Bend, WA. We also have a Level 3 (highest level available) Safe Quality Food (SQF) 2000 Certification which allows us to assure our customers that our shellfish has been produced, processed, prepared and handled according to the highest possible standards, at all levels of the supply chain.
We employ up to 115 oyster shuckers per shift depending on the season. An oyster shucker can shuck up to 5,000 oysters per shift.