All seed for our imgs/farmS are produced in our hatchery. Here, we replicate the natural early life cycle of our shellfish. Initially we condition the adults with pleanty of food and warm water which triggers the development of their reproductive tissues. Once the oysters are ready to spawn they release their eggs and sperm into the water, where they mix and fertilize. In one good spawning a female may give off up to 50 million eggs. of which 80% may be fertilized, the egg cell divides and starts the process to becoming a larva.
The first 3 weeks of the oysters life is spent in the free-swimming larval phase. This is a gift of nature as it allows the otherwise static adult population to drift off in the currents before settling down and colonizing new areas. After 3 weeks, the larva will metamorphose from the free-swimming larval stage to the sedentary seed stage. In this transition it will grow a foot, ready to seattle on the seabed.
Larvae feed on microalgae
Each algae species is quite individual - different sizes, colors, shapes, swimming patterns, speeds and most importantly nutrient profiles. It is extremely important for the larvae's normal development that they receive a complete balanced diet of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.
We carry out our large-scale algae production through the process of photosynthesis. The sun's energy in converted into chemical energy by chlorophyll in the algae; we supply the water, carbon dioxide and nutrients. Our algae system must be completely sterile of all harmful bcateria, wich we archieve though of process of pasteurization, steaming and regular cleaning with chlorine. (* A system developed by the brillant Jhon Bayes of Seasalter Shellfish, www.oysterhatchery.com)
At metamorphosis the seed still incredibly small (1/64") but they have now taken on the appearance of an oyster. During the first week they are still possible, while looking throught the microscope, to see through their shells at the hearts beating and the movement of algae along the gills towards the stomach. Within two more weeks they should be 1/5" and ready to go the imgs/farmS by which time one seed will have consumed close to 100 million algae cells!
We took 2 years searching the globe to find the ideal location to set up our imgs/farmS. We established our first farm in Laguna Manuela, the second in San Quintin, both on the pacific coast of the northern state of Baja California.
Both imgs/farmS are monitored on a monthly basis to ensure that the waters meet the rigorous standards dictated by the U.S. FDA. These results prove the exceptional cleanliness of the environment in which we operate.
We do not use any type of fertilizer, hormones, chemicals or pesticides in any stage of the farm. Our challenge is to understand nature's critical balances in the micro locations where we operate and preserve them.
In order to make a business of shellfish farming it is essential to adapt to the conditions of each specific farm. These factors include: the currents, the composition of the seafloor, the types of predators (birds, fish, crabs, etc) and the flora that sticks to and clogs the farm systems. We must decide, at each stage of the oyster's life, whether it is better to suspend the stock in the water column or leave it on the seabed, to protect it in trays or leave it loose and how often they should be handled.
Our imgs/farmS are managed through Best Practice manuals and Safe Sanitary Operating Procedures to ensure quality. From the time of harvest to packing and shipping we adhere to strict temperature/time regimes that form an integral part of our HACCP plans.