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While Mr. Moore's thinking was not practical in his time, some sixty years later rapid strides are being made in New York to use salt ponds for seed production. From 1944 through 1949 in South Carolina, Mr. C. Robert Lunz attempted to cultivate oysters in salt ponds with some limited success. Subsequent studies by the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in New England were initiated in 1956 by Mr. Paul S. Galtsoff and Mr. William N. Shaw to perfect the techniques for seed and market oyster production in salt ponds. Similar studies were made in other locations in New York and Chesapeake Bay by the Oyster Institute of North America. These studies were directed toward an adaptation of the suspended method of seed production used in Japan to conditions prevailing for the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica).
Commercial seed oysters in tributaries of Chesapeake Bay were produced from 1954-56, using wire bags on the bottom. Sets counting four to five times those of shells on the bottoms were obtained. This method of growing seed is still being used commercially in some parts of Northern Virginia. Even more extensive quantities were produced by the wire bag method in lower Delaware Bay during the same period. However, the bag technique was practically abandoned in Delaware Bay when MSX disease almost eliminated all oysters in the lower Bay.
Commercial production of seed on cultch suspended above the bottom has progressed rapidly in a salt pond at Fishers Island, New York. In this pond the Ocean Pond Corp. has adapted the Japanese technique for use in a self-contained salt pond, where the larvae are retained within the confines of the pond during their free-swimming stages. The results have been phenomenal. Scallops and oyster shells strung on wires and hung beneath styrofoam rafts while the larvae are in the free-swimming state, have collected sets averaging fifteen spat per shell. The first commercial high count seed (3,000-5,000 per bushel) was sold to Connecticut and New York oyster farmers in 1963. This company repeated its success in 1964, using the same method, and has already sold its crop of 7,500 bushels.
This practical demonstration of the suspended cultch method of seed production has stimulated other efforts in this direction, since the demand for seed exceeds the supply in all of New England. The New York State Conservation Department, working with the Town of Southampton and the local baymen in the town, has produced substantial quantities of seed this summer in a salt pond called Mecox Bay. The salinity of the water is maintained at the appropriate levels by opening or closing the ocean barrier beach. The pond is kept closed when the larvae are in the water. This project has demonstrated again the feasibility of salt ponds to grow seed oysters. Cultch was placed on the bottom of the ponds in bags tied together so that they would remain upright, and strings of shells suspended in the water. The results demonstrated that this pond has potential for development as a source of seed. Furthermore, the suspended cultch obtained sets four to ten times as heavy as the bottom cultch, and two to four times as great as the cultch in bags. The baymen are making plans to translate this pilot demonstration into a commercial operation. And so, the search is on for ponds which can be used for this purpose. It has been estimated that at least ten ponds exist in New England suitable for growing seed commercially. If each one could be developed to produce only 5,000 bushels per year, the industry would have a good start toward conquering the seed problem.
OYSTER HATCHERIES FOR SEED
The catastrophic failure of the Connecticut seed beds in the early 1950's stimulated other government and industry scientists to efforts to produce seed under controlled conditions. Out of these studies, begun at the U.S. Fisheries Laboratory at Milford, Connecticut, in about 1952, and independently pursued by Mr. Joseph Glancy of West Sayville, New York, a few years later, a commercial hatchery technique has evolved on Long Island. Three oyster seed hatcheries, using the Glancy method, operated during the summer of 1964. One other pilot plant hatchery also produced hundreds of bushels of seed using a modified Milford method.
The Glancy method was pioneered by the Bluepoints Company, who have produced several thousand bushels of seed annually for the past five years. Although precise figures are not available, the Long Island hatcheries undoubtedly produced close to 15,000 bushels of high count seed during the past season. The exact method used is retained by those associated with the Glancy estate, but the whole concept is relatively simple. Oysters are induced to spawn in the laboratory, the larvae are protected during their metamorphosis, and just prior to setting cultch is placed in the tanks so that the larvae can cement themselves and begin their sedentary existence.
The hatchery technique holds great promise for the future. It may eventually supplant the pond technique of seed culture, since the adverse factors limiting survival of the larvae are most readily controlled in a closed system than in even the open waters of a salt pond. Future advances should be forthcoming rapidly as the new pilot plant for shellfish culture is completed as an addition to the present Federal laboratory at Milford, Connecticut. Selective breeding to develop fastgrowing, disease-resistant strains should become a reality. When this comes about, we may be facing the "Golden Age" of shellfish culture.
Although salt-pond and hatchery developments are helping to conquer the seed problem, oysters in the United States are still grown and fattened on the bottom. In many ways this procedure is old fashioned and archaic, since the oysters are immediately available to attack by predators such as the oyster drill, starfish, or black drum. Extensive efforts have been made by the shellfish farmers over the last fifty years to control drills and starfish, with only limited young seed up to their first year of existence.
For the last ten years, scientists at the Fisheries Laboratory at Milford have been conducting tests to discover some method of biological or chemical control of these predators. For the past two years, the Bureau and the industry have been fieldtesting a chemical with the commercial name of Polystream. While it is too early to predict the usefulness of this chemical, it offers some promise in reducing predator mortality of seed oysters during the first year on the bottom. Further testing is needed to determine whether or not this technique is commercially feasible.
It is quite apparent that we will not have attained our full potential in oyster culture until we can produce seed under completely controlled conditions, eliminate diseases and predators, reduce materially the time between spawning and marketing mature oysters, and produce a "fat" product free of pathogens. It would seem that the only way in which this can be accomplished is to spawn and grow oysters to market size and condition in a self-contained facility, where physical, chemical and biological conditions are all controlled at the most desirable level for this species. Mr. Don McKernan, in a speech presented before the Oyster Institute of North America in 1961, predicted that by the year 2000 such oyster factories would be operating in various areas of the country. It is my belief that Mr. McKernan's proposals, which were considered the ideas of a dreamer in 1961, will be viewed in 2000 in about the same manner as we view today the thoughts of Mr. Moore in 1897. The period is not too distant from the reality of factories which will produce succulent, delicious, purified oysters for the consumer--gourmets and average folk alike.
ADMINISTRATIVE AND MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS IN THE
NATIONAL SHELLFISH SANI TATION PROGRAM
Eugene T. Jensen
Public Health Service
The purpose of this discussion is to identify the major management and administrative problems in our shellfish program; to seek the council of the States, industry and other Federal agencies in meeting these problems; and try to agree on suitable courses of action. Specifically, we want to discuss (1) the management of the National Workshops, (2) guidance of the National Program and relationship of the National Workshop to the State meetings, (3) the name of the program, (4) the inclusion of plant sanitation ratings on the list of certified shippers, (5) financing of State programs and the relationship to legislation, (6) a mechanism whereby interim decisions can be made in the National Program, (7) representation by consumer groups, and (8) the concept of the "State Plan' as a prerequisite for program participation.
Overall guidance of the National Shellfish Program is probably the most important of these management topics. This program was established in 1925 by a specially appointed "Committee on Sanitary Control of the Shellfish Industry in the United States." This committeest met on several occasions in 1925 and submitted their formal recommendations to the Surgeon General. Actions on these recommendations by the Surgeon General estab 1 ished and implemented a National Shellfish Sanitation Program. Thus, all interested parties had an opportunity to participate in drafting the "charter" for the current program. A supplementary report was submitted to the Surgeon General on August 15, 1927, but we have no further record of committee activity. Perhaps it too died in the Great Depression.
While the estab 1 i shment of the program is well documented, we have not been able to identify the mechanisms used for program management or to trace all the steps which lead to our present concepts of State program endorsement. However, we do know the PHS did obtain advice through the Shellfish Committee of the American Public Health Association, the Conference of State Sanitary Engineers, and from meetings which were called from time to time by the Public Health Service to discuss special problems; e.g., the 1940 Conference on Floating, the 1940 Conference on Laboratory Methods and the 1943 Conference on Paralytic Shellfish Poison. Also, the program had a formal advisory committee for many years, but it appears that this group was concerned mostly with laboratory methods.
This program management system seems to have worked quite well in the less hurried-certainly less complicated--1920s and 1930s. However, by the 1950s it was evident that almost everyone concerned was dissatisfied. Thus, a Second National Shellfish Sanitation Conference was called by the Surgeon General in 1954. The meeting was well attended by senior representatives of many of the States, other Federal agencies, the Government of Canada, and the shellfish industry. There seemed to be general agreement among those attending that more frequent National meetings were needed to give the States, the shellfish industry, and other interested Federal agencies an ample opportunity to participate in plotting the course of this cooperative program.
* The Committee included representation from the following agencies and firms: Oyster
Growers' and Dealers Association of North America, Bureau of Fisheries, New Jersey Board of Shell Fisheries, Department of Agriculture, Oyster Dealers and Protective Association of Louisiana, Public Health Service, and State Health Departments of Louisiana, Maryland, Kentucky, and Illinois.
It was quite apparent to those of us who attended the 1954 Conference that there was also a strong need for equivalent meetings on a regional level. Fortunately there was precedent which indicated that such meetings were quite effective. The Chesapeake Bay States had been holding such meetings since shortly after World War Il, and they had achieved a reputation as a successful means for expediting Federal-State-industry communications. An effort was therefore made to extend this plan to the Regions. At present, shellfish sanitation meetings are held annually in each of the production areas; i.e., New England, North Atlantic, Gulf Coast and West Coast. However, the relationship of these state meetings to the National Workshop has never been defined, nor is such a relationship necessarily present. In some instances, these meetings are strongly oriented to the Workshop, with PHS having an important role in scheduling and organizing. In other instances, the meetings are essentially State oriented, with PHS present only in an advisory capacity. The relationship of these meetings to industry is even less well defined.
Our present shellfish sanitation program is founded on the principles of common goals, common interests, mutual trust--but subject to audit--and communications between all interested parties. Beyond this, our program is not well defined and there are no formal agreements as to the mechanisms for management or decision making. In fact, we are only now getting around to formalizing the procedure to be followed by the PHS in the evaluation and endorsement of State programs. This in itself has been a long and tedious process and one which is still far from completion.
Our informal approach to program management has been reasonably successful. How ever, we believe that our overall National program would be strengthened materially by a better defined management procedure. This should help to avoid misunderstanding, give an adequate voice in program management to all interested parties including consumers, bring a higher degree of expertese to bear on administrative problems, and help assure that we will continue to have a National, rather than a Federal, sanitation program.
On the basis of our recent experiences we recommend the Workshop endorse the following proposals:
Recommend that PHS give strong consideration to the establishment of
2. Give official recognition to the relationship between the regional
and Nat ional meet ings and endorse the concept that program changes
3. Request that PHS prepare an operational manual to define the procedures
to be used in making changes in the National program. The proposed