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Seed

You need to plan ahead to make sure seed stock is available for the growing season. Without a lead on seed, you could end up missing the entire growing season of your first year.

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Questions

Oyster Seed

Oyster seed is usually ordered from a hatchery. Orders are typically placed in the winter for spring/summer grow-out once waters have warmed. Hatcheries fill orders on a first come, first served basis, so the sooner you place an order, the earlier in the growing season you will receive it. The oyster growing season in Maine is relatively short and a week or two can make a big difference in your growth.

It all depends on your budget, need for revenue, appetite for risk, and the growout technique. Smaller seed is less expensive to initially purchase, but more labor/time intensive and harder to keep alive and will take longer to reach market size than larger seed. Large seed is more expensive to buy but reduces labor/time and juvenile mortality risk and will grow to market size sooner.

Care technique depends on the size of seed you ordered and your farming operation, but smaller seed is initially placed in small-mesh nursery bags or an upweller. One common mistake to avoid is using mesh that is too large and having half (or all of) your seed fall out. Your mesh needs to be smaller than the seed size classification (e.g., 2mm seed will fall through 2mm mesh). Contact the hatchery to find out the best mesh size to use and talk to other growers about tried and true seed growout methods that have worked for them.

No, unless you get a special import permit from DMR. Contact the ME DMR Division of Aquaculture for more information.

Mussel Seed

Mussel seed for rafts is collected from the wild by spat collector ropes set out in spring. The seed is allowed to grow for about six months then sorted and graded by size and attached to grow out lines (socked) on a lease in the fall.

If you collect spat outside of your lease site, you’ll need a spat collection license from DMR. If you’re unsure, contact DMR Division of Aquaculture Staff.

Yes, growers with extra seed will often sell to other farms. The Downeast Institute has been developing commercial hatchery production techniques and may have spat for sale as well.

Scallop Seed

Scallop seed is collected from the wild from spat collection bags that are deployed in fall. These bags are collected in the winter or early spring and the scallop seed is moved to grow-out sites early spring/summer.

If you collect spat outside of your lease site, you’ll need a spat collection license from DMR. If you’re unsure, contact DMR Division of Aquaculture Staff.

Yes, growers with extra seed will often sell to other farms. The Downeast Institute has been developing commercial hatchery production techniques and may have spat for sale as well.

Kelp Seed

Kelp seed is usually ordered from a nursery. Kelp spores are collected from wild kelp and grown in a land-based nursery during the spring and summer. The kelp spores settle onto spools of twine and grow to seedlings. These spools can be purchased from the nurseries and deployed on grow-out sites in late fall.

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