August 6, 2021
“When you’re looking for an internship, it’s hard to find one with housing offered. We’re all really grateful we found an opening at QBC, and for the experience we’re sharing together.”
Emily is a senior at University of New England, Allie is a Colby College graduate and Emma is a senior at Maine Maritime Academy. The three work side by side each day with field technician Alec, and work to prepare 10,000 oysters for market each week.
QBC buys their seeds from local Maine hatcheries, then sorts them by size. As the oysters grow, they sort and tumble them, flipping the cages to cultivate the perfect oyster shell and prevent them from clumping together. When the seeds are larger than 10 mm, they are transferred to their lease site. These oysters go into small mesh bags, which are placed into floating cages around both Snow Island and Dogs Head Island. The oysters grow to 14 – 18mm and reach maturity. They are then sold to restaurants, markets, and seafood distributors.
If the seeds are under 10 mm, they go into their upweller, a specialized tank system that functions like a nursery for infant oysters. The upweller’s job is to help the oysters grow as fast as possible to a size that can be safely handled with a limited risk of mortality. It works by pumping fresh, nutrient-rich water up through a mesh screen on which the tiny oysters rest. The oysters filter the nutrients from the upwelling water, growing rapidly from just a couple of millimeters to a half-inch or more in about three weeks.
Today QBC is growing 600,000+ oysters, with plans to increase to more than one million within a few years. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of our oysters are returned to QBC to fund our many programs to clean the bay.
To learn more, visit: https://quahogbay.org/