Shot at the beginning of our adventure with the Jolly Oyster this video gives an insight into our world of shellfish farming.
This short video was shot at the beginning of our adventure with The Jolly Oyster, giving an insight into our world producing oysters. We hope you enjoy it.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 76 percent of fish species are either fully exploited, over-exploited or depleted. A United Nations report, released in February 2007, shows that the rising demand for seafood and other marine produce will lead to a collapse of today's commercial fish stocks by 2050 unless better management is introduced - alarming statistics that need to be brought to the general public's attention.
Fortunately fish farming, particularly shellfish farming, can help to alleviate the stresses on the wild fisheries.
Oysters and clams filter microalgae naturally available at the bottom of the food chain. As the farm is well managed and not overstocked there should be no change to the conditions in which they live. We think that this is the most responsible type of farming that you will find anywhere.
Oysters and clams epitomize the organic farmer market movement. We do not use hormones, pesticides or chemicals to enhance growth or to maximize yields.
Our business model is shaped around the local community where employment and professional development opportunities are limited. Our teams include men, women, old and young - a population that would otherwise tend towards urban migration.
Through the hatchery, we supply seed not only to our farms, but also to our associated farms. When fully grown we help to sell their product in the marketplace.
The US Senate defines local as being within the state or less than 400 driven miles. By that definition Southern California is considered to be local to our San Quintin farm.
Mollusks are fundamentally different from other 'fish farm' operations because they feed on naturally found micro‐algae in the sea. This food source is produced through the process of photosynthesis and is extremely abundant (forming the base of the food chain). However, because mollusks filter the water from which they feed, we must be careful that those waters are not polluted. The health authorities understand this and stipulate that all mollusk farms must be located in areas that are tested as clean (certified).
There are two conclusions to be reached from this:
- Farmed and fished mollusks live on exactly the same diet and all things being equal their taste and texture will be the same.
- All farmed mollusks come from clean (certified) waters and can be considered as 'fit for human consumption'. Wild mollusks may not be.
Most salt water farmed fish are fed with fish meal and high energy oil supplements. A number of issues arise from this:
- If we are feeding fish with fish how sustainable is this type of farming?
- The texture of farmed fish with modified diets will often be different from their wild counterpart.
- Some of the feed residue falls through the fish cage to the sea floor. After some time that organic waste may create an anoxic area that can negatively impact on the environment.
- Escapees can infiltrate the wild population and reduce the natural genetic stock.
- Irresponsible use of antibiotics to increase fin‐fish farmed production can negatively affect the consumer and farm laborer's health.
- Farms may create disease problems from practicing farming densities that biologically are too high thereby creating unstable stresses to the biological system.
Many of the comments alluded to for fin‐fish pertain to shrimp farming too. Nevertheless it is the location of most shrimp farms that causes particular environmental concern.
Most shrimp farms are on land where the industry generally uses a system of lined earthen ponds with seawater that is pumped from the coast. It makes most commercial sense for the farm to be as close to that water source as possible and often this has led to the disruption of mangrove swamps.
Mangrove swamps are the nurseries for many sea species where warm, productive and calm waters are ideally suited to rearing young offspring before returning to the deeper sea for their adult life
Baja California is increasingly being recognized as one of the best eco-tourism destinations because of its untouched outstanding natural beauty; one of the highlights is the annual migration of the gray whale. It is also blessed with numerous national parks, one of which covers 35% of its surface area and another which houses the National Astronomical Observatory. The observatory was located in Baja because of the absence of air pollution allowing unrivalled views of the night sky.
Northerly winds affect the coast by generating an offshore current, which sucks cool water from the ocean bed up to the surface.
The Pacific Coast of the Baja is chilled by the California Current that brings cool waters from Alaska.
The authorities take every precaution to ensure that food is safe for the final consumer, particularly with seafood. Seafood is not allowed to be sold in the U.S. unless it originates from a HACCP certified plant. That plant must be registered on their system and each delivery backed by labeling that identifies the facility, time, date and location of the harvest. All aspects of the product - its origin, time since harvest, temperature at arrival, visual inspection, weight and details of the shipment - are noted on approved control sheets. These are filed together with the Personnel and Cleaning sheets. The national health authorities and FDA carry out random audits with an impressive list of 96 checks.
We've built a trusting relationship with the same haulage company over the past ten years. All aspects of their trucks are noted on their arrival at the packing plant: the arrival time, temperature and cleanliness of refrigeration unit, name and license plates of the vehicle. If a vehicle fails inspection it is not allowed into the plant. Before loading the truck, its temperature must be registered at 45F or less. With each shipment, we send a digital recording device that allows us to monitor the temperature regime as far along the distribution chain as required.
Food science and personal health is extremely complex involving an innumerable amount of substances; some of which are digestible in certain forms, others not; which manifest themselves sometimes through non lineal relationships in our quite individual bodies.
Add to this pot the sometimes misleading commercial interests of the processed food sector and it's little wonder that we are first told that eating butter is good for us, then not and then…
We do not pretend to be nutritional experts but feel that we now have a much better understanding of what we should try to eliminate from our diet (non-essential trans fats for example) and using our common sense we try to eat in moderation with a view to eliminating any nutrient deficiencies.
It is perhaps ironic that in the 'land of the plenty' many of us are deficient in minerals and we are very pleased that the mineral profiles of mollusks are, on the whole, extremely complete and provided for in plentiful quantities.
For a detailed look at the nutritional composition of our shellfish we recommend that you visit the following sites; http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4193/2 and http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/
100gs of raw oysters (approx ½ dozen) contain over 60 mcg of selenium (90% of RDV). We have read that some cancer death rates could be cut by selenium by up to 50%. Selenium deficiency can cause premature aging, heart disease and arthritis. On the other hand toxic heavy metals such as lead and mercury can become bound by selenium to become harmless and many viruses can be deactivated by its presence (Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods. North Atlantic Books: pp 8‐9; 2002).
There exists a direct relationship between cholesterol and heart disease with a major cause of too much cholesterol being overconsumption. There are also other contributory factors; saturated fats greatly increase the manufacture of blood cholesterol (as does stress, cigarettes, coffee and refined sugar). For whatever reason mollusks often get a bad press for high levels of cholesterol. Here are some saturated fat and cholesterol comparisons:
* in milligrams per gram of sample
** saturated fat calories as a percentage of the total sample calories
Consumption of omega‐ 3 fatty acids is useful when saturated fat and cholesterol are not eliminated from the diet. Omega‐3s reduce blood viscosity, lower lipid levels, reduce clotting and lower blood pressure. Some more comparisons:
Omega 3 mg per 100g serving
100g of raw clams pack 50mcgs of vitamin B12 (exceeding recommended minimum daily values). Vitamin B12 is required for red blood cell formation and normal growth; it builds immunity and treats some degenerative diseases. Some signs of a B12 deficiency are weakness, listlessness, fatigue, diarrhea, depression, indigestion and mental imbalances (faltering memory, moodiness, apathy, personality changes). Many doctors claim this nutrient to be the most difficult for vegetarians to obtain.
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